Functional outcomes of children with index pollicizations for thumb deficiency

J Hand Surg Am. 2013 Feb;38(2):250-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2012.10.032. Epub 2013 Jan 4.


Purpose: To gain a comprehensive perspective on outcomes by performing an array of tests on patients who had undergone index pollicization for isolated thumb aplasia or severe hypoplasia in the absence of clinical radial dysplasia; this led us to create a graphical snapshot for future comparison. Another purpose was to compare the function of the contralateral hand and to compare parent and patient perspectives.

Methods: We evaluated 22 hands (18 patients) by grip as well as lateral and tripod pinch strength tests; the pegboard Functional Dexterity Test (FDT); the Jebsen Hand Function Test (JHFT); and a parent/patient questionnaire. We compared operated hands with both contralateral nonoperated hands and nondominant hands in published normal data. We also compared contralateral nonoperated hands with dominant hands in published normal data, and FDT results and JHFT outcomes in children greater than 6 years old with published normal data. We evaluated questionnaire results.

Results: Mean grip as well as lateral and tripod pinch strength in operated hands were 3.4, 1.2, and 1.2 kg, and in normal nondominant hands were 11.7, 4.4, and 3.9 kg, respectively. Patients' contralateral nonoperated hands were weaker than normal dominant hands. Mean timed FDT results in operated hands was 127 seconds, compared with 44 seconds in published normal data. In 2 of 5 JHFT subtests administered, no difference existed between operated hands and published normal data. A graphical snapshot took various outcome measures into consideration and showed a global assessment. Mean parent and patient questionnaire scores were 10 and 22, respectively (best = 12; worst = 60).

Conclusions: Comprehensive subjective and objective outcome testing suggested that an optimistic view of function after index pollicization is warranted. A graphical snapshot followed function over time. The contralateral hand fared worse than published normal data. Parent and patient perspectives were favorable.

Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic III.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fingers / transplantation*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hand Deformities / physiopathology
  • Hand Deformities / surgery*
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pinch Strength / physiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology*
  • Reference Values
  • Thumb / abnormalities
  • Thumb / physiopathology
  • Thumb / surgery

Supplementary concepts

  • Thumb deformity