Sunday, September 12, 2010

CNN : Can you really re-grow a fingertip? ... is misleading.

The recent CNN report about a woman's fingertip regenerating is misleading. As a hand surgeon I have treated hundreds of these injuries with serial dressing changes and little else. For an orthopedic surgeon or a hand surgeon this type of injury and its typical treatment is as basic as taking care of a non-displaced fracture or treating carpal tunnel syndrome.  This was an unfortunate injury, but the result is as expected. In this case it appears that there was not any tissue regeneration. The skin healed over the bone but no length was added. If you look closely at the photos, the fingertip shortening is equivalent to the length of the lost tissue. The original injury had a small part of the nail plate attached to skin and fat. The nail grew out past the residual skin but the skin and fat never regenerated any lost length. The story is misleading. While great credit is due to the researchers for their work. In this scenario the product cited is not going to make a significant difference. Please read the readers comments in the blog from the CNN followup story. (and look closely at the fingertip photos)
On a normal day, Dr. Stephen Badylak’s office at the University of Pittsburgh receives five or six e-mails requesting help from people who’ve lost various body parts, particularly fingertips or toe tips.

No comments:

Post a Comment

This blog is for information ony and should not be used for questions regarding current patients of the Hand Center of Western Massachusetts in Springfield MA. There is no way to guarantee confidentiality or timely response. No comments here should substitute or be taken as personal advice from a health care provider or any person or entity with whom the reader , poster questioner has a relationship with. These topics are for informational use only and you should read this and any other information for interest only. Any medical decisions should be made after discussing it with family, friends and your own healthcare provider... and this blog should not be used in place of those traditional resources.

AGAIN ask questions, post comments, discuss, but this is not a way to deliver personal health advice. Only your doctor woith whom you have a personal relationship can offer you that.

AGAIN If you are a current patient of the Hand Center and you have a acute current, recent or even an old question of concern CALL THE OFFICE.