Finger trauma often results in discontinuity of the proper palmar digital nerves. The goal of this study was to retrospectively evaluate the clinical outcomes of emergency nerve grafting and the resulting donor site morbidity.
Material and method
Three women and 13 men who had been operated between 2008 and 2012 were reviewed. The average patient age was 39 years (range 18–78). All were operated on an emergency basis. The average defect was 38mm long (range 15–60). The nerves were harvested from four sites: lateral antebrachial cutaneous nerve (12 cases), banked finger (2 cases), terminal portion of posterior interosseous nerve (1 case) and anterior interosseous nerve (1 case). The evaluation consisted of patient questioning and clinical examination of the treated finger and donor site. An objective sensory exam was also performed. The results were expressed according to the British Medical Research Council (MRC) classification.
There was little donor site morbidity (2 cases of symptomatic hypoesthesia, 1 case of scar hypersensitivity). Sixty-nine percent of patients stated that their grafted finger did not cause them any trouble during activities of daily living. Three patients required job retraining. Pain in the grafted finger was 0.6 (range 0–5) on the VAS. Normal sensation was restored in 31% of cases based on the monofilament sensory test; 25% had a slight decrease in touch sensitivity and 25% had reduced protective sensations. Weber's two-point discrimination test found 50% normal sensibility (threshold<6mm) and 6% with mediocre sensibility (threshold of 6–10mm). On the MRC grading scale, 50% of patients were at S4, 6% at S3+, 19% at S3, 12% at S2 and 12% at S1.
There were 56% good results in this patient series (S3+/S4) and no patients at S0. Donor site morbidity was rare. Thus use of nerve grafting is still a relevant option in an emergency setting.
Level of evidence
Level IV.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Finger, Graft, Nerve, Emergency surgery