The Reverse Digital Artery Island Flap: Clinical Experience in 120 Fingers

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Abstract

Fingertip injuries represent the most common type of injuries seen in the upper extremity. Their management is functionally and aesthetically important but at the same time very controversial. The aim of this study is to report usefulness and postoperative results of reverse digital artery island flaps for fingertip reconstruction. From July of 1984 to December of 1995, 120 fingers in 110 patients with defects of the distal phalanx were reconstructed by reverse digital artery island flaps at Korea University Guro Hospital. We reviewed the medical records of our cases and analyzed them in several aspects. In 21 cases, neurorrhaphy was performed to improve sensibility. In the majority of the cases, the defect was covered primarily, whereas in 27 cases it was covered secondarily after composite graft, replantation, and so on. All the flaps survived except for one. Long-term follow-up for more than 6 months was possible in 44 fingers in 41 patients. Light touch and temperature sensation could be detected in all the evaluated flaps. The mean values of the static two-point discrimination test in sensate and insensate flaps were 6.2 and 10.2 mm, respectively. The reverse digital artery island flap is a safe and reliable procedure with a high survival rate and therefore is an excellent choice for coverage of fingertip defects.

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