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Treatment of Fingertip Degloving Injury Using the Bilaterally Innervated Sensory Cross-Finger Flap

Chen, Chao MD, PhD*†; Tang, Peifu MD, PhD; Zhang, Lihai MD, PhD; Wang, Bin MD, PhD*†

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e31828d7258
Hand Surgery

Treatment of a fingertip degloving injury continues to be a challenge problem. This article reports repair of this type of injury using a modified cross-finger flap, including both dorsal branches of the digital nerves. From December 2007 to March 2010, the flap was used in 17 digits of 17 patients who had a fingertip degloving injury. There were 13 men and 4 women with mean age of 33 years. The injured fingers requiring reconstruction included 5 index, 6 middle, and 6 ring fingers. The mean size of the soft tissue losses was 4.2 × 1.9 cm. The mean flap size was 4.4 × 2.2 cm. Neurorrhaphy was performed between the dorsal branches harvested with the flap and the digital nerves of the injured finger. For comparison, we also collected a series of 28 patients who had a fingertip degloving injury treated with a cross-finger flap without nerve repair. In the study group, all flaps survived completely. At a mean follow-up of 23 months, the average score of static 2-point discrimination on the finger pulp was 7.2 mm. According to the visual analog scale, 12 patients had no pain, 4 reported mild pain, and 1 experienced moderate pain. Positive Tinel sign was found in only 1 reconstructed finger. Of the comparison group (mean follow-up, 22 months), the average static 2-point discrimination was 9.8 mm. On the basis of the visual analog scale, no pain, mild pain, and moderate pain were noted in 18, 7, and 3, fingers, respectively. Positive Tinel sign was found in 9 reconstructed fingers. The outcomes of the 2 groups were significantly different. The bilaterally innervated sensory cross-finger flap is an effective method for repairing the fingertip degloving injury. The authors suggest that double nerve repairs should be performed to improve the pulp sensation and reduce the incidence of the painful neuroma.

From the *Hand Surgery Department, The Second Hospital of Tangshan; †Affiliated Hospital of North China Coal Medical College (Hebei United University), Tangshan Hebei; and ‡Department of Orthopedics, General Hospital of the People’s Liberation Army, Beijing, People’s Republic of China.

Received December 11, 2012, and accepted for publication, after revision, February 13, 2013.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

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

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins