The pattern of fingertip injuries in Kumasi, Ghana
Background: The severity of fingertip injuries depends on the mechanism of injury to the soft tissue and bones.
Objective: To document the incidence, mechanism, category of fingertip injuries, their management and outcome at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), in Kumasi, Ghana.
Design: A prospective study of patients with fingertip injuries presenting at KATH, from February 2017 to January 2018 was undertaken.
Methods: Selected patients underwent conservative and surgical treatment depending on their injuries. Surgical treatment involved shortening and primary closure, skin grafting or using flaps. Conservative management involved debridement and wound dressing.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 26.9 years. Thirty two (52.4%) of the patients were males. The most common cause of injury was crush 28 (47.5%), due to door and machine mangling injuries. Fifty six percent of the injuries occurred at home. The most common digit involved was the middle finger. Thirty seven percent of the fingertip injuries involved only the pulp. There was a statistically significant difference (P - value = 0.04) between the type of treatment and aesthetic outcomes. There was no statistically significant difference between length, shape, colour, and appearance of finger and the type of treatment.
Conclusion: Fingertip injuries accounted for 34% of hand injuries presenting at KATH, in Kumasi. Crush and blunt injuries involving the pulp of the fingers predominate. Most of these injuries were managed conservatively. Majority of patients were satisfied with the length, shape, colour and aesthetic outcome of the fingertip.
Key words: Crush injury, Fingertip, Blunt injury, Conservative, Machine mangling