A finger amputation is when part of your finger or hand is removed due to injury or disease. Oftentimes finger amputations are a result of medical necessity to preserve the good part of your hand or finger. Other times, amputations are due to accidents or traumatic injuries, such as a deep cut that severs all or part of a finger. In these cases, if you act quickly enough, you might be able to have the severed part reattached.
Prior to the amputation, your doctor will thoroughly evaluate your hand and your injury. X-rays and other imagery may be ordered to determine the extent of the injury. In many cases, the doctor is able to close the amputation site by simply shortening a tendon, bone or by rearranging skin to fit over the surgical site. Other times, especially when the amputation area is significant, muscle, skin or tendons may have to be grafted from another body part. Fingertip amputations are usually the simplest and closed directly at the incision site.
After an amputation surgery, it is not uncommon to expect pain. Your doctor will prescribe medicine to help control the pain while your hand is healing. Additionally, you will have to take careful care to clean and bandage the surgical site to avoid infection. A follow-up usually occurs within a week or two after the surgery to ensure it is healing properly. If necessary, additional follow ups will be scheduled. You will also receive exercises and likely a prescription for physical therapy.
When it comes to an amputation, physical therapy is required to build up strength and flexibility in the affected area. You will also be instructed to help desensitize your skin by touching and moving it. It’s also beneficial to use physical therapy to learn how to use a prosthetic if you receive one after the amputation. More information about the prosthetic is listed below.
Recovery time is thoroughly dependent on the nature of the injury and the amputation. Some are able to resume activities within a matter of weeks, while others will still be recovering after several months. Losing a finger or fingers can pose a difficult challenge and may result in not being able to return to work. Some patients who have amputations also find therapy beneficial as it can be difficult to adjust to everyday life with a missing member. However, with time and patience, you’ll be able to readjust and use your hands in a way that becomes comfortable and efficient for you. Be sure to discuss the recovery time with your doctor so you know what to expect in the coming weeks and years after your finger amputation surgery.
Once the amputation and subsequent healing of the site is complete, your doctor will likely talk to you about being fit for a prosthetic. There are several types of prosthesis available, and it is important to discuss the options with your doctor. The type of prosthesis you use will depend on your typical daily functions and likely your profession.
A prosthesis is made just for you, usually by an imprint taken from a residual finger as well as the same part on the hand that is free of damage. They are typically held on by suction and made from a silicone rubber base that is transparent and color-matched to your skin tone. The nail bed area is very realistic looking and can be polished just like the rest of your nails. They are also highly resistant to staining, making them durable and lasting upwards of 3 to 5 years. Additionally, learning how to use the prosthesis adequately also takes some time and may become part of your physical therapy routine.
Please call our office at (703) 574-2588 for more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Fadi Nukta in Northern Virginia.