From July 1985 to February 1993, 135 digits in 119 patients with complete amputations at or distal to the distal interphalangeal joint (zone I for amputations distal to the nail base or zone 11 for amputations between the distal interphalangeal joint and the nail base) were replanted using a microsurgical technique at Korea University Guro Hospital. Because of the high social value placed on body form and function, the indication for replantation was extended to cases with severe soft-tissue injuries and attempted replantation as a routine procedure in nearly all distal amputation cases. The overall survival rate was 78 percent, with the survival rate for zone I being 70 percent and that for zone II reaching 86 percent. Even in cases with severe soft-tissue injury, the survival rate was high, with viability in avulsion injuries and crush injuries reaching 75 percent each. The most common type of vascular repair in zone I cases was revascularization of one artery only and no vein repair (87 percent). Of these cases, interpositional vein grafts were used in 65 percent. In zone II cases, the most common combination repair was one artery and one vein anastomosis (70 percent), with interpositional vein grafts for arterial anastomosis in 49 percent; most of the venous repair was feasible by the direct method (78 percent). The follow-up period ranged from 1 month to 5 years with a mean of 14.8 months; 52 patients were followed-up for more than 6 months. In 52 long- term follow-up patients, the average two-point discrimination was 8 mm. Patient satisfaction, aesthetically and functionally, was high (91 percent).
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