The Journal of Bucharest College of Physicians and the Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences

Versatility of Vein Grafts in Hand Neurovascular Reconstruction – Clinical Cases and Literature Review


Injuries to the upper limb may determine unexpected simple or complex soft tissue defects, due to different types of underlying injury mechanism, clean cut/stabs, crushing, torsion, avulsion or mixed types, which pose a challenge for the reconstructive surgeon. Ideally, all arterial, venous and nervous lesions, in the distal upper limb should be repaired in an end-to-end technique, outside of injury zones, with healthy ends, in a tension free manner. However, situations arise where, either a tension-free repair is not possible, or a considerable defect is met, often representing a challenge to the surgeon. Therefore, a timely decision is imposed in order to find the most favorable approach to restore limb or segment perfusion, ensuring efficient venous return, as well as providing a sensate repair. Usage of vein grafts represents an essential tool comprised in the reconstructive surgeon’s armamentarium, with high versatility in nerve, arterial and venous reconstruction. Not only does it provide an ideal solution, with high adaptability to each case, but it also may enhance short- and long-term outcome, offering an optimal reconstructive option in any upper limb trauma situation, regardless of etiology. We aim to describe our therapeutic strategies in a series of challenging trauma cases involving digital structures from the upper limb. Interposed vein grafts were used to re-stablish sensate function in a patient with a collateral digital nerve defect, but also to bridge vital digit arterial defect in a torsion-avulsion thumb amputation, as well as re-establishing venous flow in patients with Urbaniak II finger degloving injury.