Closed-space hand infections: diagnostic and treatment considerations

Orthop Rev (Pavia). 2012 May 9;4(2):e19. doi: 10.4081/or.2012.e19. Epub 2012 Jun 13.


Despite modern diagnostic methods, surgical advances and antibiotics evolution, acute closed-space hand infections still remain a therapeutic challenge. The aim of this review is to present its special clinical features and the current therapeutic management based on the infection site, the type of the infecting pathogen and the host-type. Anatomic pathways facilitate the spread of the infection towards spots of decreased resistance. The accumulation of purulent material subsequently raises the pressure within the closed-space, leading to ischemia and necrosis. These infections are usually attributed to gram-positive cocci and clinicians should also consider the local spread of community-acquired methicillin resistant S. aureus and the host's comorbidities (immunosuppression, diabetes) before choosing the appropriate antibiotics. Surgical treatment including drainage and irrigation is imperative. The knowledge of anatomy, closed-space pathophysiology and current updates in microbiology and drainage/irrigation techniques are prerequisites for prompt diagnosis and optimal treatment of acute closed-space hand infections.

Keywords: closed-space; compartmental.; deep space; hand infections; tenosynovitis.