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Use of the Dorsal Digital Sensate Free Flap for Reconstruction of Volar Soft Tissue Defect of Digits

Chen, Chao MD*†; Tang, Peifu MD, PhD; Zhang, Xu MD, PhD§∥

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e318268a97f
Hand Surgery

Sensate cross-finger flaps and homodigital and heterodigital island flaps can usually be used for sensory reconstruction in the volar aspect of the digit. However, when the donor areas are damaged by concomitant injuries, these flaps are not available. The free dorsal digital flap, including both dorsal branches of the proper digital nerves, can be used as an alternative to resolve this problem. The flap was used in 16 patients with soft tissue defects on the volar aspect of the digits. For comparison, we collected a consecutive series of 31 patients with similar defects treated using a cross-finger flap including one branch. At final follow-up, the static 2PD of 2-branch flap is superior to 1-branch flap. The dorsal digital sensate free flap can be used as an alternative for the reconstruction of volar soft tissue defect of the digits. Sufficient sensory recovery can be achieved using this technique.

From the *Hand Surgery Department, The Second Hospital of Tangshan; †Affiliated Hospital of North China Coal Medical College, Tangshan, Hebei; ‡The Department of Orthopedics, The Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing; §Hand Surgery Department, The Second Hospital of Qinhuangdao, Changli, Qinhuangdao, Hebei; and ∥Chengde Medical College, Chengde, Hebei, People’s Republic of China.

Received February 24, 2012, and accepted for publication, after revision, July 8, 2012.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: None declared.

Reprints: Chao Chen, MD, Hand Surgery Department, The Second Hospital of Tangshan, Tangshan, Hebei, 063000, People’s Republic of China. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins