Free Transfer of a Paralyzed Contralateral Little Finger for Total Thumb Reconstruction in an Electrical Burn Patient: A Case Report and Literature Review

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Abstract

The authors report the case of a 30-year-old male with 52% TBSA high-voltage electrical injury of the upper half of the body. Injuries included a cervical burn with associated alteration of the left brachial plexus as well as extensive soft tissue burn of the right hand. Three months later, he developed osteomyelitis of the right thumb metacarpal bone requiring amputation proximal to the metacarpophalangeal joint. Following initial management, the patient had a permanent distal left upper extremity paralysis with nonfunctional but relatively undamaged ipsilateral hand digits. The right hand remained functional with four intact digits and a thumb stump. Usually, late reconstruction of proximal thumb amputation is performed by pollicization or free toe transfer procedures. In this particular case, right thumb reconstruction was done by free transfer of the left little finger. Four months postoperatively, the patient demonstrated a functional pinch between the reconstructed thumb and the ipsilateral digits along with improving sensation. This uncommon surgical procedure restored a functional thumb with minimal donor site morbidity. The decision-making process and operative technique are presented in detail along with a review of the thumb reconstruction literature.

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