Transient bone resorption following finger replantation: A report of 3 cases

Stefano Lucchina, Hillary A. Becker, Cesare Fusetti, Alexander Y. Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Radiographic changes consisting of alterations in mineral content, osteopaenia or destructive neuropathy that occur following successful finger replantation have already been described. We report our experience about four fingers in three individuals in whom bone changes developed in the first three months postoperatively with complete "restitution ad integrum". Three patients, 21-49 years old (average 36 years) sustained a clean-cut amputation of four fingers. The first patient had an amputation at the base of the middle phalanx of the index finger and the second patient at the base of the proximal phalanx of the ring finger. The third had an amputation at the base of the first metacarpal bone and the proximal phalanx of the small finger in a five finger amputation. In the first case, two dorsal veins and two palmar digital arteries and nerves were repaired. In the second case, one palmar artery and one dorsal vein were reanastomosed. In the third case at the thumb, two dorsal veins and two palmar digital arteries and nerves were reconstructed. At the small finger, one dorsal vein, one palmar digital artery and two digital nerves were reconstructed. Bone fixation was achieved with two and three K-wires or tension-band wiring. Replantation was successful in all cases. Three weeks after replantation, the X-rays showed rapid development of osteopaenia in the juxtaarticular region and metaphyses of the bone. These changes were followed by subperiosteal, intracortical and endosteal bone resorption. No further surgical procedures or splintage were needed and hand therapy was not discontinued. At 10-13 weeks (average 12 weeks) postoperatively, the X-rays showed a complete recovery with new periosteal bone formation. We suggest that the radiographic changes after finger replantation are transient, first evident subperiosteally and progressing centrally. They may reflect small-vessel compromise and microinfarction and transient hyperemia secondary to neurovascular damage or to sympathetic progressive recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-182
Number of pages5
JournalChinese Journal of Traumatology - English Edition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Bone resorption
  • Fingers
  • Replantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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