Replantation of the Upper Extremity: Current Concepts

Valerie M. Wolfe, MD J Am Acad Orthop Surg June 2015 ; 23

Replantation is the process of reattaching amputated parts. Relative indications for replantation in the upper extremity include amputation of the thumb or multiple digits as well as amputations proximal to zone II and pediatric finger amputations at any level. Preoperatively, the part should be sealed in a bag and placed on ice; maximum ischemia times are approximately 12 hours of warm and 24 hours of cold time for digits, with shorter times tolerated for amputations at more proximal levels. With multiple digit involvement, an assembly line approach is used in the operating room. Postoperatively, close attention must be paid to detect thrombosis because secondary ischemia times are shorter. Success rates vary; survival is predicted in part by the mechanism of injury, with sharp cut injuries having better outcomes. There is no consensus on appropriate postoperative anticoagulation, the number of vessels that must be anastomosed, or whether replantations should be centralized or performed in every hospital.

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