Functional and cosmetic outcome of single-digit ray amputation in hand

Musculoskelet Surg. 2017 Dec;101(3):275-281. doi: 10.1007/s12306-017-0484-x. Epub 2017 Jul 5.


Purpose: To assess patient satisfaction, functional and cosmetic outcomes of single-digit ray amputation in hand and identify factors that might affect the outcome.

Methods: Forty-five patients who underwent ray amputation were evaluated, 37 males and eight females whose mean age was 36.6 years ranging between 15 and 67 years. Twenty-eight patients had dominant hand involvement. Twenty-one patients underwent primary ray amputation, and 24 patients had secondary ray amputation. Eight out of the 23 patients with central digit injuries underwent transposition. Grip strength, pinch strength, tactile sensibility and functional evaluation using Result Assessment Scale (RAS) and DASH score were analysed. Cosmetic assessment was performed using visual analogue scale (VAS) for cosmesis.

Results: Median time of assessment after surgery was 20 months. Average loss of grip strength and pinch strength was found to be 43.3 and 33.6%, respectively. Average RAS score was 3.75. Median DASH score was 23.4. Eighty-three percentage of patients had excellent or good cosmesis on the VAS. Transposition causes significant increase in DASH scores for central digit ray amputations but was cosmetically superior. Middle finger ray amputation had the maximum loss of grip strength, and index finger ray amputation had greater loss of pinch strength. Affection of neighbouring digits caused greater grip and pinch loss, and a higher DASH score. Primary ray resection decreased the total disability and eliminated the costs of a second procedure.

Conclusion: Following ray amputation, one can predict an approximate 43.3% loss of grip strength and 33.6% loss of pinch strength. The patients can be counselled regarding the expected time off from work, amount of disability and complications after a single-digit ray amputation. Majority of the patients can return to the same occupation after a period of dedicated hand therapy.

Level of evidence: Therapeutic, Level III.

Keywords: Grip strength; Pinch strength; Ray amputation; Replantation; Transposition.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amputation, Surgical / methods*
  • Esthetics
  • Female
  • Finger Injuries / surgery
  • Finger Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Finger Joint / surgery
  • Fingers / diagnostic imaging
  • Fingers / surgery*
  • Fingers / transplantation
  • Functional Laterality
  • Hand Injuries / surgery*
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / surgery
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Recovery of Function
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Analog Scale
  • Young Adult