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Journal Article


Chin G, Weinzweig N, Weinzweig J, Geldner P, Gonzalez M. Ann. Plast. Surg. 1998; 41(4): 390-396.


Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Illinois at Chicago and Cook County Hospital, 60612-7316, USA.


(Copyright © 1998, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins)






A retrospective review of 22 patients who sustained snowblower injuries to the hand was performed. There were 17 men and 5 women, ranging in age from 20 to 68 years (average age, 39.7 years). Fifty percent were manual laborers, 25% were unemployed, 15% were office workers, and 10% were not categorized. The dominant hand was involved in 86% of patients. In all patients, injuries occurred during an attempt to unclog manually the snowblower of wet snow. Patients were evaluated initially in the emergency room, where their wounds were irrigated and debrided, subungual hematomas drained, and nail bed lacerations repaired. Patients with more extensive injuries were taken to the operating room for definitive treatment including open or closed reduction of fractures, fingertip replacement as composite grafts or skin grafts, revision amputations, tenorrhaphies, and digital nerve repairs. All injuries occurred distal to the metacarpophalangeal joints. Only 1 patient sustained an injury to the proximal phalanx. Ten patients injured only 1 finger, 6 patients injured 2 fingers, and 6 patients injured 3 fingers. The middle and ring fingers were most commonly injured (39.6% and 33.3% respectively), followed by the index and little fingers (16.7% and 8.3% respectively), and the thumb (2.1%). Phalangeal fractures were the most common type of injury, occurring in 29.2% of patients, and usually involved the distal phalanx. This was followed in frequency by nail bed injuries (22.9%), amputations (22.9%), tendon lacerations (14.6%), soft-tissue avulsions (6.3%), and digital nerve injuries (4.2%). Snowblower injuries can involve bone, soft tissue, nail bed structures, nerves, and tendons, and may even result in amputation of one or several fingers. These injuries are localized to the distal portions of the fingers. The middle and ring fingers are most commonly involved, with relative sparing of the thumb. Fractures are the most frequent injury, followed by nail bed injuries and amputations. Snowblower injuries are often managed as open fractures with intravenous antibiotics; irrigation and debridement; and repair of bone, soft tissue, and nail bed structures.

Language: en


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