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Microsurgery. 2002;22(5):187-92.

Lower limb replantations: indications and a new scoring system.

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  • 1Gruppo Interdivisionale di Microchirurgia, C.T.O. Hospital, Torino, Italy.


The need for reconstruction of lower limb amputations is increasing, due to high-energy trauma in road accidents and work-related injuries. The indication for lower limb replantation is still controversial. Compared with upper limb replantations, indications are more select due to the frequent complications in lower limb salvage procedures, such as severe general complications or local complications such as necrosis, infections, nonunions, the need for secondary lengthening, or other reconstructive procedures. The satisfactory results given by artificial prosthesis, such as quicker recovery time and fewer secondary procedures, also contribute to the higher degree of selection for lower limb replantation candidates. Since 1993, we have replanted 14 amputations of the lower limb in 12 patients, including 2 bilateral cases. Although survival of the replanted segment was obtained in all patients, 5 cases were subsequently amputated for severe secondary complications. Of the remaining 9 cases, evaluated by means of Chen criteria, 7 had good results (3 Chen I and 4 Chen II), 1 sufficient (Chen III), and 1 poor (Chen IV). The best results were obtained in young patients. Our experience led us to examine the necessity for careful, objective patient selection. We developed a score evaluation system by modifying the international classifying method for severe limb traumas (mangled extremity severity score, or MESS system). This relatively simple system, based on the retrospective study of our cases, considers several parameters (patient's age, general conditions, level and type of lesion, time of injury, and associated lesions), giving each one a score. The total score gives the indication for replantation, predicts the functional outcome, and facilitates decision-making.

Copyright 2002 Wiley Liss, Inc.

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