While published data on functional outcomes after upper limb amputations are plentiful, epidemiology data are relatively rare. This led us to performing an epidemiology study of traumatic upper limb amputations at our facility.
Material and methods
This retrospective study spanned a 10-year period of cases seen at the SOS Main (Hand emergency center) of the Nancy University Hospital in France. Patients who suffered traumatic amputation of the upper limb were identified and divided into two groups: replantation and surgical amputation. All anatomical amputation levels were retained. Non-traumatic amputations were excluded. Epidemiology data (sex, age, dominant side, injured side) was collected along with the specific anatomical level of the injury, the injury mechanism and whether it was work-related. We also looked at the success rate of microsurgery and whether multi-finger amputations were partial or complete. In parallel, the annual incidence of amputations seen at the SOS Main over this period was calculated.
Over the 10-year period, 1715 traumatic upper-limb amputations were identified, which was 3% of all cases seen at the SOS Main. Most of the cases involved middle-aged men. Revascularization was attempted in one-third of cases and microsurgery was successful in 70% of cases. The surgical amputation group consisted of 1132 patients with a mean age of 59 years, while the replantation group consisted of 583 patients with a mean age of 48 years. The primary mechanism of injury was a table saw.
This injury, which must be addressed urgently, is not very common in everyday practice. This is contrary to lower limb amputations, which are more common and occur in the context of micro- and macroangiopathy in older patients. The success rate of microsurgery in this cohort must be placed in the context of age, amputation level and mechanism. The functional outcomes are not always as good as the vascular outcomes. This data is invaluable as it fills a gap in our knowledge about amputations.
Level of evidence
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Keywords : Epidemiology, Amputation, Upper limb, Traumatic