Venous Bridge Arterial Grafting for Thumb Replantation

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3 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study is to describe a novel technique using an interposition vein graft for thumb replantation in these severe avulsion injuries. Methods: From 2002 to 2012, 8 patients underwent interposition venous bridge grafting from the dorsal radial artery at the anatomic snuffbox to the ulnar digital artery of the thumb. All patients had a traumatic thumb amputation with a severe injury to the ulnar digital artery. The technique began with bony stabilization; the radial artery at the anatomic snuffbox is exposed, vein graft harvested, and microsurgical end-to-side (proximally) and end-to-end (distally) anastomoses are carried out. Results: The average time to the operating room was 7.4 hours and time to reperfusion was 9.5 hours. At 3.1 years of follow-up, all 8 thumbs remained viable, without any need for revision procedures. The only complication was a metacarpal shaft nonunion treated successfully with iliac crest bone grafting. At last follow-up, all patients reported no or mild pain, with an average metacarpophalangeal (MCP) range of motion of 46.5°, and intact but diminished 2-point discrimination. All patients were able to return to work full-time. Conclusions: Due to the challenging nature of thumb avulsion injuries and the pronated position of the thumb, novel salvage alternatives are important. We describe a technique when no proximal vessels are available, using a vein to bridge the dorsal radial artery to the ulnar digital artery of the thumb. This novel arterial reconstruction has shown promise in thumb replantation associated with severe avulsion injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-276
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • bridge arterial grafting
  • thumb replantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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