Anterograde homodigital neurovascular island flaps are very useful for reconstructing proximal fingertip amputations with exposed bone but have the disadvantage of bringing about proximal interphalangeal joint (PIPJ) stiffness. The addition of a single or double V-Y plasty increases mobility without having to extend the dissection beyond the PIPJ. The purpose of this study was to examine the long-term functional outcome of patients who received a “short” anterograde homodigital neurovascular island flap with a single or double V-Y plasty. Our primary hypothesis was that this flap did not induce PIPJ stiffness and our secondary hypothesis was that it preserved good fingertip sensation.
This was a retrospective study of patients operated between August 2017 and February 2019. The inclusion criteria were the following: a fingertip amputation caused by either a crush or laceration injury with exposed bone, treated during the acute phase of the injury or for secondary necrosis (attempted replantation or subtotal amputation) and classified as Type II oblique palmar, Type III or Type IV amputations according to the Allen classification system. The assessment criteria were: joint mobility, sensory evaluation with the two-point discrimination and Semmes-Weinstein monofilament tests, time to healing, postoperative complications, postoperative splinting, duration of work stoppage, perioperative smoking, cold intolerance, touch hypersensitivity, nail deformity and excluded finger.
Nine patients (mean age 53.9 years [32-67]) were operated, of which eight long fingers and one thumb. One procedure was complicated by skin flap necrosis. At the mean follow-up of 22.4 months [16-31], the mean mobility for the metacarpophalangeal joint (MCPJ), proximal interphalangeal joint and distal interphalangeal joint (DIPJ) were 92-0-0°, 97.8-1.5-0° and 60.3-6.8-0°, respectively. In comparison to the contralateral side, a significant difference was only detected in the DIPJs. The mean two-point discrimination in the proximal portion of the flaps were 7.1 mm on the ulnar side (P < 0.05) and 7.6 mm on the radial side (P < 0.01), while in the distal portion they were 7.3 mm (P < 0.01) and 7.8 mm (P < 0.01). The Semmes-Weinstein monofilament test also detected significantly reduced sensation.
The combination of a “short” anterograde homodigital neurovascular island flap with a single or double V-Y plasty seems to avoid PIPJ stiffening while preserving good fingertip sensation.
IV; retrospective study.