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ABSTRACT: Traumatic nail injuries are often observed in clinical practice. Usually the fingernail can be preserved, cleaned and disinfected in order to use it in the reconstructive procedure. However, in some cases the nail can be avulsed and lost or too damaged to be used. In cases when the nail is not available it should be replaced by a substitute in order to protect nail bed and avoid adherences along the proximal nail bed and the nail fold. Furthermore the substitute serves to protect the tender nail bed from painful stimuli during the healing process. We used, as fingernail substitute, a polypropylene sheet in eight patients with fingernail avulsion or disruption. The polypropylene foil was trimmed reproducing the profile of the avulsed fingernail and thinned at the proximal edge to reduce thickness in order to ease the insertion into the nail fold. A small hole was then created in the center of the foil to allow blood drainage. The substitute was usually removed one month after the application. In our clinical experience we had not complications related to the polypropylene device. The new fingernail had good cosmetic appearance in most cases and all the patients reported a good protection of the fingertip during the healing period. The substitute used in this series is sterile, inexpensive and easily available in emergency and elective operatory theater. This polypropylene foil is flexible and can be shaped and adapted to the nail curvature radius. The substitute used in our clinical series protected the nail bed during healing until the growth of the new fingernail and respected our functional expectations.
Chirurgie de la Main 05/2009; 28(3):143-5. · 0.30 Impact Factor