Management of sclerodermal finger ulcers

J Hand Surg Am. 1984 May;9(3):320-7. doi: 10.1016/s0363-5023(84)80216-6.


Ninety-three percent of 59 patients with scleroderma reviewed in this study presented with Raynaud's phenomenon at a mean age of 43 years; 65% of these developed fingertip ulcers within 4 years. Other common findings were sclerodactyly, distal phalangeal resorption, calcinosis cutis, and digital contractures. Medical management of the digital ulcers with systemic and regional vasodilating drugs was unsatisfactory. Sympathectomy, when performed early, temporarily relieved vasospastic pain but did not affect the course of the ulcers. Severe digital pain was the most incapacitating symptom resulting from vasospasm early in the course of the disease and irreversible arterial luminal narrowing later in the course. Conservative fingertip amputations for nonhealing ulcers constituted the management of choice to eradicate the ulcer, to reduce or eliminate the pain, and to return the hand to early useful function. A decision tree for the management of these ulcers is proposed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fingers / pathology*
  • Hand Dermatoses / drug therapy
  • Hand Dermatoses / etiology
  • Hand Dermatoses / surgery
  • Hand Dermatoses / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Raynaud Disease / complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / complications
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / drug therapy
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / surgery
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / therapy*
  • Skin Ulcer / drug therapy
  • Skin Ulcer / etiology
  • Skin Ulcer / surgery
  • Skin Ulcer / therapy*