In fingertip replantation with arterial anastomosis alone, many external bleeding techniques have been described to satisfy venous outflow, and some patients require blood transfusions. We used a pulp tissue reduction method to avoid the need for external bleeding techniques and blood transfusions.
We examined 18 fingers in cases of Ishikawa's subzone II, III, and IV amputation that were replanted with artery-only anastomosis and pulp tissue reduction from April 2003 to March 2018. The method consisted of pulp tissue reduction to the level of the fingerprint core, bone fixation without gaps to promote venous drainage through bone marrow, and pinprick testing twice a day. Prostaglandin E1 and/or urokinase were administered intravenously, but no other anticoagulants were used systemically or locally. Postoperatively, only the pinprick test was performed twice a day for 5 days.
The patients ranged in age from 26 to 74 years (mean, 47 years). There were 13 men and 5 women. The total success rate was 89% (16/18). Of the 2 salvage failures, one was due to venous congestion and the other was due to arterial insufficiency. The survival rates of Ishikawa's subzone II, III, and IV amputation were 100% (4/4), 71% (5/7), and 100% (7/7), respectively. No blood transfusions were required in any of the cases. The Semmes-Weinstein test was performed for 14 of 18 fingers: the result was blue in 11 fingers and purple in 3 fingers.
The pulp tissue reduction method resulted in a high success rate without the need for external bleeding or blood transfusions. Fingertip replantation with artery-only anastomosis, a pulp tissue reduction method, is effective for replant survival when subcutaneous venous repair is impossible because a reduced pulp volume may facilitate replant survival under conditions of irregular venous drainage, such as bone marrow drainage.