Malawi Medical Journal

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Surgical outcomes of diabetic hand infections in Lagos, Nigeria

Bolaji O Mofikoya


Hand infections in diabetics can be a major cause of functional impairment .In patients with Tropical Diabetic hand syndrome prompt surgical intervention may salvage the hand, but return to premorbid function remain a challenge.
A retrospective study of consecutive diabetic patients with hand infections was done in 2 tertiary institutions in Lagos,Nigeria to identify the epidemiology, modes of presentation, types of surgical intervention and outcomes of
Twenty one patients were studied over a 5 year period. ten males, eleven females .All were type 2 Diabetes. 52.4%(11) were diagnosed less than a year prior to presentation. 61.9%(13) had digit/hand gangrene on presentation. All operated patients (20) had wound debridements. 52.5% (11) digit/hand amputations and this was the commonest surgical procedures done. Other surgeries done include skin grafts and `flap reconstructions. There was a 19% mortality rate. Less than a fifth were able return to their premorbid occupation after 3 months. But all had reduced range of motion in the interphalangeal joints in the adjacent digits.
There is a high morbidity rate for hand infections in the diabetic, even though majority of the hands were salvaged, most patients were unable to return to their premorbid occupation at 3 months.

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