Can a Severed Finger Be Reattached?

Can a Severed Finger Be Reattached?

Posted on 11/17/2022

A severed finger is a situation where a part or all the finger is cut off or amputated from the hand. Severing all or part of a finger is a severe injury that will affect how you use your hand. To try and ensure your hand use is not affected as much, surgeons may attempt to reattach the finger.


However, not all severed finger injuries can end in replantation. Sometimes, the severed part is too damaged to replant successfully. In such situations, the surgeon may decide to cover up the remaining part. If you are in an accident where you sever your finger, rush to a hospital quickly for an assessment. 


First Aid for a Severed Finger


The first aid for a severed finger is quite simple. The first thing you should do is wrap the severed part in a moist cloth or gauze. Using saline or salt water to wet the cloth or gauze is best. Most people will only have a paper towel at hand, and that works okay. 

After wrapping the amputated digit, seal it in a clean or sterile zip bag or container. Then place the container or zipper bag in some ice. 

The severed digit should not come into direct contact with the ice. You should also avoid using dry ice because it is too cold. Direct contact with ice or ice that is too cold may damage the tissues in the severed digit. 

As mentioned earlier, for higher chances of replanting the severed part, you should seek professional help as soon as possible.


When Should You Not Replant a Severed Finger?


Sometimes, the damage to the finger is so severe that replanting it is impossible or would cause more problems. Here are the common occurrences when the severed finger should not be replanted:


Contaminated, Crushed, or Mangled Fingers

If the severed finger is contaminated, crushed, or mangled, the surgeon most likely cannot correct the damage it has sustained. In this situation, reattaching the finger is impossible and unwise. You can sustain this damage from a lawnmower, chainsaw, farming equipment, or snowblower. 


Fingertip Injuries

It is infrequent for a surgeon to reattach a severed fingertip. This is because these injuries can heal well on their own. Attempting to reattach it may cause more complications. 


Single Finger Injuries

It is also more common for these injuries to be amputated than reattached. This is because when you reattach one missing finger, its compromised functionality may cause it to affect your ability to grasp. This is common if the severed finger is the little finger or the index.


Injuries Low on the Finger

If your finger is severed at the base, reattaching it will take a long time to heal. Also, the chances are that you incur severe nerve damage, which will affect your ability to feel with the finger.


What Is the Process of Reattaching a Severed Finger?


A reattachment procedure involves six main steps:


  • Anesthesia

  • Debridement

  • Bone care

  • Reconstructive surgery

  • Reattachment

  • Closure


For more on whether a severed finger can be reattached, visit East Bay Hand & Upper Extremity at our office in Oakland, California. Call (510) 904-1100​​​​​​​ to book an appointment today.


Please contact us today to schedule an appointment or get more information about our hand and upper extremity surgical services.