Traumatic amputations and replantation

A traumatic amputation is always deemed an injury requiring emergency care. Fingertip amputations can occur as a result of a crushing trauma injury, occupational accidents or sports injuries.

Can the finger be reattached?

While it is advised that you bring along the severed segment with you when you see the doctor, replantation is rarely possible. If replantation can be achieved, it is important to note that this may involve extensive recovery time.

In cases where reattachment isn't possible, amputation surgery is often needed. Surgery is done by your hand surgeon to achieve better wound healing, relieve future pain and to prevent infection of the severed finger. The goal of treatment is to have a pain-free fingertip that is covered by healthy skin and functions normally. For hand amputations, a prosthesis may be considered in the future.

Treatment of an amputation is decided based on the nature of the injury. Minor tissue injuries where the wound does not expose bone may be treated with stitches and protective dressing while a larger open wound may be problematic if there isn't enough skin to cover the open area. In some cases, a skin graft or reconstructive flap surgery may be needed to cover the wound.

For fingertip amputations where the bone is exposed, there may not be enough tissue to cover the open wound. In such cases, the bone may need to be shortened, and reconstructive flap surgery may be needed.

In all cases of traumatic amputations, hand therapy will be needed for rehabilitation, to restore functioning.