FINGER AND EXTREMITY AMPUTATIONS

Amputations are divided into two groups as total and partial amputations. The organ (finger, hand or arm) is completely separated from the body in total amputations and the amputated part shall be immediately sutured to its place as all vessels are severed. Continuity of the organ with the body continues in partial amputations and only a part is cut. If vessels are stable, as vitality of the damaged part continues, transportation of the patient to the hospital is less important than those with total amputations. The most important factor for success of the surgical treatment is to transmit the patient and the part to the facility as soon as possible in both circumstances. Replantation is called to suture the severed organ on its place. To suture the organ on it place is not possible in all circumstances. General condition of the patient, status of the severed part, transportation period of the patient to a health facility, current technical options are factors that are effective to perform the procedure.

The priority in severe injuries that damages other systems of the patient such as in traffic accidents is to focus on the vital risk. If there is a vital risk in the patient or replantation may cause a vital risk, this procedure should not be done.

If the damage is much in the severed organ due to contusion or fragmentation, replantation may not be performed. The rate of success in amputations with sharp cutters such as knife, chopper is higher than amputations by pulling due to compression under press or tripping.

Additional conditions such as smoking, diabetes, heart diseases, blood pressure diseases effects the treatment adversely. Also, success may be less in old patients than young and middle age patients.

Severed part should be sutured on its place within 2 hours in ideal conditions. When amputation level reaches to the finger tip, this period may increase up to 6-12 hours, if amputated part is stored in suitable conditions. As specified above, the patient should be immediately transported to the hospital. As the amputation level approaches to the end, due to small vessels to be sutured; quality of the technical equipment and experience in microsurgery become more important. On the other hand, functional results are better when the severed part is treated properly in end level amputations.

Replantation and after period requires perseverance both for the patient and the surgeon. While a replantation procedure may last for 2-14 hours according to the severance level, if severed part is more than one (4-5 fingers or severance of both arms) this period may increase. Recovery period also may vary between 2 months and 2 years according to the level of severance. Also further operations may be required to provide function after the severed part is kept alive.

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