Health: Gelsenkirchen: girl’s (3) torn finger saved

A three-year-old in Gelsenkirchen tore off her middle finger in a wheel spoke. How hand surgeons at the Marienhospital saved the finger.

It was a nightmare for the parents: three-year-old Sina (name changed by the editors) suddenly screamed loudly, crouched on the ground with her hand bleeding profusely. She can hardly move her fingers, the middle finger is hanging lifelessly on a flap of skin.

The little girl had curiously grabbed the spokes of her big brother’s home training bike, who was probably training at the time. That’s how the parents describe it, the doctors don’t know any more details when the shocked girl comes with her parents to the emergency room of the Marienhospital Gelsenkirchen in the evening.

Gelsenkirchen surgeons operated until midnight to save the three-year-old’s fingers

During the examination, the doctors found that the middle finger was subtotal torn off. To be more precise: all three phalanxes are broken, the vascular and nerve supply is interrupted, collateral ligaments and flexor tendons are defective, the middle joint is torn with cartilage damage and the extensor tendon is no longer intact. It is rather unlikely that the finger can be saved.

Unlikely, but not impossible. And that’s why the orthopedic surgical team immediately prepares the operating room. The little girl, who already proves to be surprisingly brave, is operated on for three hours.

Sören Leymann, Senior Physician in Trauma Surgery and in-house hand surgeon explains: “We didn’t just want to provide the girl with emergency care. Our plan was to give the child the chance to have a good finger function, to spare possible follow-up operations up to hand narrowing and in this way to spare the girl possible stigmatization”.

The main goal is to preserve the finger in its entire length and as much mobility as possible. The blood circulation – the main requirement for maintenance – is already working properly. Wires are still stabilizing the joints, on the one hand Sina* also has feeling again, but on the other side of the finger the nerves could not be saved. Since the skin was also injured, some artificial skin had to be implanted. “But the skin in children grows back without any problems, I have no concerns about that,” assures Leymann.

Since the accident in early September, Sina has come to the clinic with her mother two to three times a week to monitor the recovery process and change the bandage. Pink is supposed to be the top layer, she showed the doctor. Her German is not yet good enough to put it into words.

While the doctor examines her hand, checks how well she can move everything and is happy to see how well supplied with blood and how well the finger is already mobile in the metatarsophalangeal joint, she watches in silence. When asked if it hurts, she bravely shakes her head again.

Fine wires stabilize the middle finger of the three-year-old from Gelsenkirchen

“However, the extent to which movement can be restored after reconstruction of the other two joints can only be assessed after the wires that are still in place have been removed and the joints undergo complex occupational therapy treatment, at the earliest in eight weeks,” explains Sören Leyman. The senior doctor is certain that Sina will go through with the necessary occupational therapy: “The family has kept every check-up appointment, although it is obviously not easy for them in terms of time. This will remain so. There is a lot of interest in getting the whole finger.”

He knows from his practice and his experiences abroad: In many cultures, even a missing phalanx can be seen as a major flaw. And if a child’s finger has to be removed, this often results in an even more noticeable narrowing of the hand.

More articles from this category can be found here: Gelsenkirchen

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