Home About Journal AHEAD OF PRINT Current Issue Back Issues Instructions Submission Search Subscribe Blog    

Users Online: 2130 
Print this page  Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2008  |  Volume : 42  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 208-211
Finger avulsion injuries: A report of four cases

Plastic Surgery-Hand Surgery Unit, IBN SINA Hospital, Rabat, Morocco

Click here for correspondence address and email


Injury that occurs to a finger wearing a ring though rare can have grave consequences. It is a preventable injury which has a peculiar mode of trauma that is usually occupational. Injury ranges from simple contusion to degloving of soft tissues to traumatic amputation. We hereby report our experience of four cases of finger avulsion injuries due to a ring and discuss their variable clinical presentation and individualized management.

Keywords: Amputation, avulsion, digit, ray, replantation, ring

How to cite this article:
Fejjal N, Belmir R, El Mazouz S, Gharib N E, Abbassi A, Belmahi A M. Finger avulsion injuries: A report of four cases. Indian J Orthop 2008;42:208-11

How to cite this URL:
Fejjal N, Belmir R, El Mazouz S, Gharib N E, Abbassi A, Belmahi A M. Finger avulsion injuries: A report of four cases. Indian J Orthop [serial online] 2008 [cited 2018 Jun 17];42:208-11. Available from: http://www.ijoonline.com/text.asp?2008/42/2/208/40259

   Introduction Top

Finger avulsion is a rare and grave injury. Injury caused to the finger wearing a ring by avulsion of the soft tissues, when the ring is pulled forcefully can cause a wide spectrum of damage ranging from a simple contusion injury to a traumatic amputation. Despite the high rate of failure, [1],[2] the literature contains enough evidence to support attempts to reconstruct these injuries. [3],[4] The authors report their experience in this injury through four cases and discuss its management.

   Case Reports Top

Case 1

A 35-year-old male, refuse collector, presented with avulsion amputation of the left third digit at the level of the distal interphalangeal joint [Figure - 1]. While rising from the sitting position inside the truck, his wedding ring got entangled in an iron hook of a metal piece in the floor of the truck. The case was defined as third stage according to Urbaniak classification. [5] The patient reached the hospital 5 days after the accident. The stump was treated by full thickness skin grafting, after slight bone shortening.

Case 2

A 31-year-old female, working as a waitress in a cafι, suffered an accident at her workplace. The patient's left index wedged into an orifice at the base of a refrigerator which she was trying to lift and move. This led to an avulsion of the second left digit and sub-amputation through the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP) [Figure - 2] with only an intervening cutaneous bridge remaining. The flexor digitorum profondus and superficial tendons were cut in Zone 2 and extensor tendon in Zone 4. There was no digital circulation. The case was defined as third stage according to Urbaniak classification. The patient was admitted to the hospital four hours after the accident. The patient was taken up for urgent wound irrigation and debridment. The cartilage of the head of the proximal phalanx of the index finger (P1) was destroyed. A shortening arthrodesis of the PIP joint was performed at 15º flexion. The flexor digitorum profondus tendon and extensor tendon were sutured end to end. Peroperative examination revealed contusion of the nerve and thrombosis of the digital artery on the ulnar aspect. Arterial repair was performed by anastomosis of the collateral radial artery. The venous flow was restored by placing an interposition vein graft between two dorsal veins, harvested from the palmar side of the subcutaneous tissue of the wrist. The collateral nerve at the radial aspect was repaired by simple suture. The skin could be closed primarily by simple interrupted sutures as the soft tissues were lax due to the shortening arthrodesis of the PIP joint. During the postoperative period there was a slight marginal skin necrosis of a part of the dorsal surface skin which healed secondarily by ointment dressings. On follow-up one year later, the patient was extremely satisfied with the reconstruction. She had an active range of motion of 90° at the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint and good return of protective sensation.

Case 3

A 24-year-old right-handed male carpenter, presented with avulsion amputation of the right fourth digit at the level of P1 resulting from an occupational accident. While fabricating a wooden piece, his wedding ring was caught by the wood-turning lathe. This led to an amputation at the level of the proximal phalanx with a section of the extensor and flexor tendons. The amputated digit was crushed [Figure - 3]. The case was defined as third stage according to Urbaniak classification. The patient was admitted to the hospital two hours after the accident where the stump was surgically treated. Considering the state of the amputated part and the fact that the patient was a manual worker, we decided against replantation.

Case 4

A 45-year-old male farmer, presented with an occupational injury. While driving in a cow into a cowshed, his wedding ring accidentally got entangled into the rope tied around the cow. The resultant sudden violent forward thrust by the cow led to a circumferential lesion formation at the base of his left fourth digit, without disconnection [Figure - 4]. The case was defined as first stage according to Urbaniak classification. The wedding ring was removed and the clinical examination revealed no signs of arterial or neurological damage. After careful irrigation and debridment, the extensor tendon was sutured and the wound was closed. Antibiotic and analgesic therapy was administered and the hand was kept elevated. Postoperatively, a slight edema was observed. It had not compromised the arterial and venous flow of the digit and disappeared within a period of several days. The patient regained good hand function with a slight loss of active flexion of the fourth left digit.

   Discussion Top

Ring avulsion injuries often present a technical challenge. The goal is to salvage, maintain function and if possible, provide an esthetic appearance. They result from the mechanism of crushing, shearing and avulsion, inducing severe macroscopic and microscopic damage. [6]

Before the advent of microsurgery, many techniques were used to cover the denuded finger, such as use of tubed pedicle flaps from abdominal wall, but the results were often unsatisfactory. [7] Many classification systems have been proposed to provide a more rational approach for the management of these injuries. [7],[8],[9],[10],[11] Among them, the classification of Urbaniak and colleagues is one of the best known as a scheme to grade the injury. It classifies lesions into three stages [Table - 1].

Although management of Class I cases is simple, Class II ring avulsions require some type of vascular repair because the circulation is inadequate in contrast to Class I cases. However, the most difficult treatment is related to a Class III ring avulsion in which there is complete degloving or amputation.

Several authors agree that replantation of completely amputated finger avulsions is often unsuccessful because of vascular damage involving a long segment of the artery. [12],[13] Inadequate debridement of the artery induces failures. Furthermore, it has been stated that when the arteries are disrupted upto the digital pulp, replantation is likely to lead to a failure. [14]

In Class III lesions with an intact PIP joint and flexor digitorum superficialis tendon reimplantation should be tried. However, we think that a ray amputation is a better alternative, if the PIP joint is damaged. [4],[14],[15]

In Patient 2 who presented with a third stage according to Urbaniak classification, reimplantation was done in spite of a sub-amputation through proximal phalanx because she refused amputation considering the esthetic aspect. She was explained well regarding the likely loss of function of the ray and the chances of developing postoperative gangrene with reimplantation.

In Case 1 reimplantation could have been a better option if the patient had sought medical attention early (< 24 h) with proper preservation of the amputated digit. He refused ray amputation, hence we debrided the stump and covered it with skin graft. This case shows that the Moroccan population needs to be sensitized more about hand injuries and that amputated rays and digits etc can be reimplanted provided the patient and the part reaches the caregiver timely and in an appropriate condition.

For digital artery repair we used vein graft. We insisted on the quality of debridement of the arterial ends for successful revascularisation. [14] Some surgeons practice rerouting of an arterial pedicle from an adjacent digit but that technique results in the sacrifice of a major artery of the digit and a donor site problem as well. [15] Our approach is to anastomose two or three veins end to end when possible or use an interpositional venous graft and close the skin defect using small local flaps or full-thickness skin grafts. [7] However, we must follow the patient carefully for a long time as in any microsurgery procedure and be aware of the possibility of occurrence of a late arterial failure. [16]

   Conclusion Top

Ring finger avulsion injuries are very rare. We insist on prevention, especially in occupations involving manual and hand work. Ring must be removed from the finger before working. Microsurgery is superior to any method of primary or secondary reconstruction from a functional and esthetic point of view.

   Acknowledgement Top

Dr. Regina Khater is acknowledged for re-reading the manuscript.

   References Top

1.Waikakul S, Sakkarnkosol S, Vanadurongwan V, Un-nanuntana A. Results of 1018 digital replantations in 552 patients. Injury 2000;31:33-40.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Arakaki A, Tsai TM. Thumb replantation: Survival factors and re-exploration in 122 cases. J Hand Surg Br 1993;18:152-6.  Back to cited text no. 2  [PUBMED]  
3.McDonald AH, Cleland HJ, Leung M, Slattery PG. Ring avulsion injuries. Aust NZJ Surg 1999;69:514-6.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.van der Horst CM, Hovius SE, van der Meulen JC. Results of treatment of 48 ring avulsion injuries. Ann Plast Surg 1989;22:9-13.  Back to cited text no. 4  [PUBMED]  
5.Urbaniak JR, Evans JP, Bright DS. Microvascular management of ring avulsion injuries. J Hand Surg Am 1981;6:25-30.  Back to cited text no. 5  [PUBMED]  
6.Flagg SV, Finseth FJ, Krizek TJ. Ring avulsion injury. Plast Reconstr Surg 1977;59:241-8.  Back to cited text no. 6  [PUBMED]  
7.Martin DL, Kaplan IB, Kleinert JM. Use of a reverse cross-finger flap as a vascularized vein graft carrier in ring avulsion injuries. J Hand Surg Am 1990;15:155-9.  Back to cited text no. 7  [PUBMED]  
8.Kleinman WB, Dustman JA. Preservation of function following complete degloving injuries to the hand: Use of simultaneous groin flap, random abdominal flap and partial thickness skin graft. J Hand Surg 1981;6:82-9.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Bevin AG, Chase RA. The management of ring avulsion injuries and associated conditions in the hand. Plast Reconstr Surg 1963;32:391-6.  Back to cited text no. 9  [PUBMED]  
10.Sabapathy R, Venkatramani H, Bharathi R, Sebastin SJ. Replantation of ring avulsion amputations. Indian J Plastic Surg 2003;36:76-83.  Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Sica A, Dubert T. Skin graft and cross finger flap for salvage reconstruction of ring finger avulsion. Chir Main 2005;24:246-50.  Back to cited text no. 11  [PUBMED]  
12.Hirase Y, Kojima T, Bang HH. Secondary reconstruction by temporoparietal free fascial flap for ring avulsion injury. Ann Plast Surg 1990;25:312-6.  Back to cited text no. 12  [PUBMED]  
13.McGeorge DD, Stilwell JH. The management of the complete ring avulsion injury. J Hand Surg Br 1991;16:413-4.  Back to cited text no. 13  [PUBMED]  
14.Akyürek M, Safak T, Keηik A. Ring avulsion replantation by extended debridement of the avulsed digital artery and interposition with long venous grafts. Ann Plast Surg 2002;48:574-81.  Back to cited text no. 14    
15.Adani R, Castagnetti C, Busa R, Caroli A. Ring avulsion injuries: Microsurgical management. J Reconstr Microsurg 1996;12:189-94.  Back to cited text no. 15  [PUBMED]  
16.Duffy FJ, Concannon MJ, Gan BS, May JW Jr. Late digital replantation failure: Pathophysiology and risk factors. Ann Plast Surg 1998; 40:538-41.  Back to cited text no. 16    

Correspondence Address:
N Fejjal
Secteur 23, Résidence Nakhil Riad, Immeuble 14, Appartement 4, Hay Riad, Rabat
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5413.40259

Rights and Permissions


  [Figure - 1], [Figure - 2], [Figure - 3], [Figure - 4]

  [Table - 1]
    Authors' contribution

Fejjal N: Literature search,
Belmir R: Literature search,
El Mazouz S: Literature search,
Gharib NE: Manuscript preparation,
Abbassi A: Manuscript preparation,
Belmahi AM: Definition of intellectual content,

This article has been cited by
1 Results of Replantation of 33 Ring Avulsion Amputations
Roberto Adani,Elisabetta Pataia,Luigi Tarallo,Raffaele Mugnai
The Journal of Hand Surgery. 2013; 38(5): 947
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Results of replantation of 33 ring avulsion amputations
Adani, R. and Pataia, E. and Tarallo, L. and Mugnai, R.
Journal of Hand Surgery. 2013; 38(5): 947-956
3 Removal of a titanium alloy ring
Bleibleh, S. and Childs, J. and Baqai, N.
British Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2011; 72(9): 529
4 Free great toe wrap-around flap combined with second toe medial flap for reconstruction of completely degloved fingers
Yongjun Rui, Jingyi Mi, Haifeng Shi, Zhihai Zhang, Hede Yan
Microsurgery. 2010; 30(6): 449
[VIEW] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Case Reports
    Article Figures
    Article Tables
    Authors' contribution

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded355    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 4    

Recommend this journal