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Plast Reconstr Surg. 1991 Sep;88(3):499-502.

Thumb replantation after cardiac transplantation.

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  • 1Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester.


Generally, severe medical illnesses, including chronic immunosuppression and heavy steroid use, have been deemed relative contraindications for replantation surgery. We report the successful replantation of an amputated thumb in a patient who had previously undergone heart transplantation and was on therapeutic immunosuppression. Despite extensive soft-tissue damage and joint involvement, thumb function and sensibility returned to acceptable levels. This case demonstrates that digital bony union, tendon repair healing, and nerve regeneration are not significantly altered by the standard immunosuppressive regimen following major organ transplant. The implications raised by this case for possible transplantation of allograft digits or limbs are discussed in detail.

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