Fingertip injuries involving subtotal or total loss of the digital pulp are common types of hand injuries and require reconstruction that is able to provide stable padding and sensory recovery. There are various techniques used for reconstruction of fingertip injuries, but the most effective method is functionally and aesthetically controversial. Despite some disadvantages, cross-finger pulp flap is a relatively simple procedure without significant complications or requiring special techniques.
This study included 90 patients with fingertip defects who underwent cross-finger pulp flap between September 1998 and March 2010. In 69 cases, neurorrhaphy was performed between the pulp branch from the proper digital nerve and the recipient's sensory nerve for good sensibility of the injured fingertip. In order to evaluate the outcome of our surgical method, we observed two-point discrimination in the early (3 months) and late (12 to 40 months) postoperative periods.
Most of the cases had cosmetically and functionally acceptable outcomes. The average defect size was 1.7×1.5 cm. Sensory return began 3 months after flap application. The two-point discrimination was measured at 4.6 mm (range, 3 to 6 mm) in our method and 7.2 mm (range, 4 to 9 mm) in non-innervated cross-finger pulp flaps.
The innervated cross-finger pulp flap is a safe and reliable procedure for lateral oblique, volar oblique, and transverse fingertip amputations. Our procedure is simple to perform under local anesthesia, and is able to provide both mechanical stability and sensory recovery. We recommend this method for reconstruction of fingertip injuries.