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Regenerated Fingertip Story and Comment

Posted Sep 10 2010 7:30am

After running inside from a rainstorm one Friday evening last January, Deepa Kulkarni leaned against the doorway with her right hand to take off her boots. Then, in an effort to make sure the dog didn’t get out, someone slammed the door hard, and it landed right on her pinky. Kulkarni thought the door had only bruised her finger, but then she looked down and saw the tip of her pinky lying on the floor.

“The doctor who was on call at the emergency room told me there was no way he could reattach my pinky,” she says. “I didn’t like that, so I asked to see a specialist.”

The therapy involved cleaning out the finger and removing scar tissue a process called debridement and then dipping her finger into MatriStem wound powder. After seven weeks of treatment, her fingertip grew back (as shown in the before and after photos above).

“Even now it’s not perfect. It’s shorter than the other pinky, but just by looking at it you can’t tell it was an amputated finger,” she says. “I’m able to do everything I could do before. I wash dishes. I cook,” she says, adding that she’s had physical therapy to decrease tingling in her finger caused by severed nerves.

Source: cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/09/09/pinky.regeneration.surgery/index.html

Not to be disrespectful, but small wounds of the finger tips usually heal quite readily. The piece here didn’t regenerate really. It was far more likely replaced by scar tissue. It was just so small that there was little distortion. Nail beds heal well if the area more proximal (closer to the shoulder) portion that actually creates the nail is intact as it looks like it was in this case. The sensitivity the patient describes in the story is common in wounds of this sort that heal without surgery. From the looks of the images found at the CNN story, I would have probably grafted the amputated skin to encourage healing. It may have healed faster.

Best Regards,

John Di Saia MD

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