Basic principles on toe-to-hand transplantation.

Barbara S. Lutz*, Fu Chan Wei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Within the last three decades, toe-to-hand transplantation has become a well-established method for function and appearance reconstruction after trauma and in congenital hand anomalies. An otherwise healthy and cooperative patient is the ideal candidate for toe transplantation after trauma. In such patient, even primary toe transplantation is possible, if the stump is clean and viable. If secondary reconstruction after completed wound healing is considered, emphasis should be laid on tissue sacrifice during the acute management of non-replantable amputations at the hand. Specific considerations regarding selection of toe(s) to be transplanted, technique of toe harvest and inset, sequence of transplantations if more than one digit is to be reconstructed such as in the metacarpal hand, and postoperative regimen are important to achieve satisfying functional and aesthetic results on both recipient and donor sites. A trimmed great toe is ideal for thumb reconstruction if the amputaiton is located at or distal to the middle metacarpal shaft. However, in more proximal amputations a second toe may be more suitable as it allows transmetatarsal harvest without increasing donor site morbidity. Distal finger reconstruction with partial toe or second toe warp around flap gives most gratifing result to those patients who are critically concerned about their body images and also those who need distal fingers for jobs or recreation activities. Combined second and third toe or third and fourth toe transplantations are particular useful in metacarpal hand reconstruction to provide tripod pinch. The role of toe-to-hand transplantation in the new millenium assuming progress in tissue engineering, gene transfer, and the development of new immunosuppressive drugs is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-576
Number of pages9
JournalChang Gung Medical Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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