header advert
Orthopaedic Proceedings Logo

Receive monthly Table of Contents alerts from Orthopaedic Proceedings

Comprehensive article alerts can be set up and managed through your account settings

View my account settings

Visit Orthopaedic Proceedings at:



Full Access


7th Congress of the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Lisbon - 4-7 June, 2005


Most major Upper limb injuries are invariably associated with significant skin and soft tissue loss. With the recent technical advances, it is possible to cover most defects. This allows salvage of limbs which were being amputated before. Primary reconstruction of composite defects is also possible thereby shortening the reconstructive process. The ten key points are

  1. Debridement is the key to success. The quality of the bed determines the infection rate and the ultimate functional outcome. Good debridement is essential irrespective of the type of skin cover provided. You make it or miss it at this stage.

  2. Cover the wound as early as possible, preferably within 48 hours and certainly before infection sets in. Tendons and bones do not tolerate exposure. Dried and dead bones and tendons must be excised before providing skin cover.

  3. While providing skin cover, make the complete plan and not decide for the day. The cover provided should facilitate the next stage of reconstruction (bone or tendon graft or transfers)

  4. Good skeletal stability is a must before providing skin cover. In the upper limb stable internal fixation is preferable. Loose fixation is the beginning of the end.

  5. If secondary procedures are to be done, skin flaps provide better access than fascial flaps covered with graft.

  6. Composite defects need not always be reconstructed with composite flaps.

  7. One need not try every known flap. Do what you are good at. Repetition is the mother of skill.

  8. Having said that one must also recognize the inherent limitation of any technique. Be willing to change or try alternate plans when faced with problems.

  9. Don’t forget donor site morbidity. Initial patient satisfaction is dependent on wound healing. Long term satisfaction is dependent upon donor site morbidity.

  10. Do not give up reconstruction of a major hand injury for fear of inability to cover the wound. Never hesitate to seek help. A well healed reconstructed hand is functionally far better than the best available prosthesis.

Theses abstracts were prepared by Professor Roger Lemaire. Correspondence should be addressed to EFORT Central Office, Freihofstrasse 22, CH-8700 Küsnacht, Switzerland.