Reconstruction of fingertip amputations with full-thickness perionychial grafts from the retained part and local flaps

David T. Netscher, Ricardo A. Meade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The treatment of fingertip amputations distal to the distal interphalangeal joint when the amputated part is saved is difficult and controversial. Both reattachment of the amputated portion as a composite graft and microvascular anastomosis are prone to failure in this distal location. The authors have evolved a reconstructive plan that uses the nail matrix, perionychium, and hyponychium of the amputated fingertip as a full- thickness graft when the amputation is between the midportion of the nail bed and just proximal to the eponychial fold. Various flaps are used to lengthen and augment the finger pulp, and skeletal pinning is carried out as necessary. The charts of 15 patients who underwent this procedure over a 38- month period were evaluated retrospectively. Seven returned to the office for examination at least 1 year after the fingertip reconstruction described above; four others were interviewed by telephone. Nail deformity, fingertip sensation, and joint range of motion were evaluated, and the reconstructed fingertips were photographed in standardized views. In six of the seven patients seen in the office, aesthetic and functional results were judged as good by both patient and physician; one of the six had minimal nail curvature. The seventh patient had no nail growth, although finger length was retained and there was no functional disability. The four patients interviewed by phone reported normal fingertip use with no dysesthesias or cold intolerance; all had nail growth, although three patients described slight nail curvature that required care in trimming. The authors favor salvage of all perionychial parts when a distal fingertip amputation occurs. Reconstruction of the fingertip with grafting of the hyponychium, perionychium, and nail matrix from the amputated part combined with local flaps can provide a very satisfactory functional and aesthetic result.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1705-1712
Number of pages8
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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