Finger Amputation: First Aid Measures
Finger amputation or amputation of any other part of a limb is a serious injury.
Re-implantation after finger amputation can be done provided the amputated finger is brought to the hospital timely and properly.
Here I will discuss the first aid and management for transportation of the severed part.
Of primary importance is the life of the patient. Before directing attention to the amputated part one should rule out the
presence of other life threatening injuries. Once they are ruled out then attention can be directed to the amputated parts.
- Bleeding from the stump should be controlled with a pressure bandage.
- Ligatures and hemostats (forceps) should not be used as they can damage blood vessels and nerves making re implantation more difficult.
- If bleeding is not controlled by a pressure bandage a pneumatic tourniquet or blood pressure cuff can be used temporarily.
- The amputated part needs to be cooled to 4 degree centigrade for it's chances of maximum survival.
- After recovering the part it should be cleaned with saline or ringers solution (if none are available then mineral water will do).
- Following cleaning the part is covered with a sterile gauge soaked in saline or ringers solution.
- It is then kept in a sealed plastic bag.
- This plastic bag is kept in a ice box.
- Make sure that part the does not come in direct contact with the ice.
- Alcohol and formaldehyde should not be used to store the amputated part.
- If the part is incompletely severed then any kinking or twisting of the tissues should be corrected.
- The wound is then covered with a sterile bandage (clean cloth if no sterile bandage is available).
- A splint is applied to support the part.
- A ice pack is kept (not directly in contact with skin) on the part.
It you are in the middle of no where, then the best thing you can do is to wrap the amputated finger in a moist handkerchief and rush to the nearest hospital.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is a pressure bandage applied?
Pressure bandage is a bandage applied with one or two circumferential turns around the limb followed by a cross
over to the opposite side (like moving around the circumference of a circle then going along the diameter). This is repeated again and
again with alternate layers of cotton and rolled bandage. Finally a elastic bandage is applied.
After how long can a amputated part be re implanted?
With muscular parts (such as hand and forearm) re implantation should begin within 6 hours if they are not cooled. This can be extended
to 12 hours after cooling to 4 degree centigrade.
For parts with no muscle (fingers and toes) re implantation should begin within 8 hours if they are not cooled. This can be extended
to 30 hours after cooling to 4 degree centigrade.
I hope the information provided was helpful. If you have any query about finger amputation,
you can post at the contact me page.
This page was last updated on 13th March 2009.
Other causes of finger joint pain...
Swan Neck Deformity
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