Local Subcutaneous Heparin as Treatment for Venous Insufficiency in Replanted Digits

Department of Plastic Surgery at Instituto Nacional de la Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico.
Plastic &amp Reconstructive Surgery (Impact Factor: 2.99). 06/1999; 103(6):1719-24. DOI: 10.1097/00006534-199905060-00026
Source: PubMed


In the treatment of venous insufficiency unsuitable for surgical correction in replanted digits, a small ungual window was surgically created to infiltrate subcutaneous heparin in the congested digit. The initial heparin dose was 1000 units. This dose made possible a continuous bleeding during 24 to 48 hours, solely through the ungual window. Further doses were applied based on the degree of congestion of the replanted digit, but usually it was necessary to infiltrate up to 500 units of heparin every 24 to 48 hours until vascular stability was achieved. Three patients were treated with this technique. One opted for quitting the treatment. A replanted thumb suffered venous congestion on the seventh postoperative day and was treated with local subcutaneous heparin for 3 days. A replanted fingertip suffered venous thrombosis 24 hours after surgery and was treated likewise for 18 days. In these two patients, success was attained. Blood transfusions were carried out in the latter two, and none had any systemic changes in partial thromboplastin or thrombin time. This treatment is based on the mechanism of action of heparin at high doses but applied only to the congested segment. Besides their anticoagulant effect through antithrombin, high doses of heparin slow platelet aggregation, may induce angiogenesis, and have a longer-than-normal half-life. With the above technique, heparin has been applied to the congested segment at an approximate dose of 33,000 to 40,000 units/kg, and continuous bleeding solely through the ungual window for 24 to 48 hours has been achieved, which has allowed us to save two replanted segments with no complications at all. This method may offer another alternative for the medical treatment of venous insufficiency in replanted segments.

9 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The authors describe the functional and aesthetic results of microsurgical replantation of 21 fingertip amputations at or distal to the nail base-namely, zone I amputations. There were 15 male and 6 female patients, with an average age of 26 years (age range, 1-41 years). Replantations were performed using the anastomosis of the artery-only technique, with neither vein nor nerve repair. Venous drainage was provided by an external bleeding method with a fish-mouth incision in "distal" zone I amputations for approximately 7 days, and by the use of leeches in more "proximal" zone I amputations for 10 to 12 days. Results indicated that the overall survival rate was 76%, with 16 of 21 digits surviving. Sensory evaluation at an average follow-up of 12 months (range, 6-18 months) revealed an average static two-point discrimination of 6.1 mm (range, 2.0-8.0 mm). Considering the unfavorable results and the donor site morbidity of various fingertip reconstructions, a microsurgical fingertip replantation should always be considered except in extremely distal, clean-cut, pediatric cases, in which case a composite graft is a possibility. The results of this series indicate that an amputated fingertip in zone I can be salvaged successfully by microvascular anastomosis of the artery only, with a nonmicrosurgical method of venous drainage. Furthermore, acceptable sensory recovery can be expected without any nerve coaptation.
    Annals of Plastic Surgery 07/2001; 46(6):605-12. DOI:10.1097/00000637-200106000-00006 · 1.49 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Adequate venous outflow is the most important factor for successful fingertip replantation. The authors have attempted venous anastomosis in all cases of fingertip replantation to overcome postoperative congestion. In this article, the significance of venous repair for fingertip replantation is described from the authors' results of 64 complete fingertip amputations in 55 consecutive patients, which were replanted from January of 1996 to June of 2001. The overall survival rate was 86 percent. Of the 44 replantations in zone I, 37 survived, and the success rate was 84 percent. Of the 20 replantations in zone II, 18 survived, and the success rate was 90 percent. Venous anastomosis was attempted in all cases, but it was possible in 39 zone I and in all zone II replantations. For arterial repair, vein grafts were necessary in 17 of the 44 zone I and in one of the 20 zone II replantations; for venous repair, they were necessary in six zone I replantations and one zone II replantation. Postoperative vascular complications occurred in 15 replantations. There were five cases of arterial thrombosis and 10 cases of venous congestion. Venous congestion occurred in nine zone I and one zone II replantations. In five of these 10 replantations, venous anastomosis was not possible. In another five replantations, venous outflow was established at the time of surgery, but occlusion occurred subsequently. Except for the five failures resulting from arterial thrombosis, successful venous repair was possible in 49 of 59 replantations (83 percent). Despite the demand for skillful microsurgical technique and longer operation time, the authors' results using venous anastomosis in successful fingertip replantations are encouraging. By performing venous anastomosis, external bleeding can be avoided and a higher survival rate can be achieved. Venous anastomosis for fingertip replantation is a reliable and worthwhile procedure.
    Plastic &amp Reconstructive Surgery 04/2003; 111(3):1151-8. DOI:10.1097/01.PRS.0000046497.88549.E0 · 2.99 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The management of very distal finger amputations when the amputated part is saved is still difficult and controversial. Both re-attachment of the amputated portion as a composite graft and microvascular anastomosis can fail in this distal location. Replantation is, in fact, associated with certain problems, such as technical difficulty, risk of failure because of the poor venous drainage, and costs. With the exception of children, amputations at the level of the lunula poorly survive direct re-attachment. Hirase has described a new replantation model without vascular anastomosis and used ice water and aluminium foil to enhance survival of the composite graft. Cooling the entire recipient site retards cellular degeneration in the graft until neovascularisation occurs. The present authors applied this method to seven cases in which a digit had been amputated between the tip and the lunula. In four cases the method proved to be completely successful, whereas in two an area of tip necrosis was observed. The Hirase method has proven to be a simple and reliable surgical technique for fingertip re-attachment.
    Hand Surgery 01/2004; 8(2):257-64. DOI:10.1142/S0218810403001777
Show more