Results of the Treatment of Major, Complex Hand Injuries
Complex hand injuries are associated with serious consequences including long period off-work, permanent disability, inability to return to original profession or to work at all. As these injuries are common, they create considerable economical consequences and, therefore, it is desirable their treatment would be as perfect as possible to reduce potential loss of function.
The aim of the study was analysis of the structure of complex, multi-structural hand injuries and evaluation of the outcomes of the treatment of these injuries in both medical (recovery of function) and economical (period of inability to work and costs of medical care) aspects.
Material and methods. The study presents the results of treatment of 78 patients suffered from severe, major hand injuries, involving damage of at least two of four anatomical structures within the hand or wrist (bones, tendons, arteries or nerves) as well as severe injury involving at least two digits. Functional results were assessed at a mean of 10 months after the accident. Tendons were repaired in all 42 patients, bones were fixed in 29 (69%), nerves were repaired in 21 (50%), arteries in 14 (33%) and in two patients skin defect was covered by the flap (one local and one groin flap).
Results. Total active motion of affected digits amounted 2/3 of normative active motion of the healthy digits and total grip strength approximated half of the grip strength of the unaffected hand. In patients with nerve injuries, a satisfactory recovery of sensation in the affected digits was obtained. Dexterity of the hand in daily activity was scored 30 points in DASH scale. Injury-related duration of sick leave in 31 patients worked at the time of the accident amounted 4.4 months in average (range 1-12). A total of 27 subjects (87% of worked) returned to work: 24 to their previous profession and three had to qualify for a new job. Total hospital costs of the treatment in the analysed group amounted a mean of 2600 PLN.
Conclusion. The outcomes of the treatment of major hand injuries achieved in our institution over the period of the one year were satisfactory, considering their severity and complexity. These results, in our mind, show clearly advantages coming from an existence of qualified service for hand injuries.