Long-term outcome of morphology and function after soft tissue injury of the forearm with vascular involvement.

Annals of vascular surgery

PubMedID: 23809929

Sergi G, Perissinotto E, Zucchetto M, Scomparin MA, Corbetti F, Coin A, De Rui M, Manzato E, Bassetto F. Long-term outcome of morphology and function after soft tissue injury of the forearm with vascular involvement. Ann Vasc Surg. 2013;27(5):599-605.
BACKGROUND
We sought to assess long-term changes in bone, muscle area, and muscle strength at different levels of the forearm and hand mobility according to arterial patency and nerve damage after surgically treated trauma related to involuntary local cutting/piercing injuries.

METHODS
Forty subjects were evaluated 11 years after surgery for traumatic lesions involving the major vascular axis of the distal forearm. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography was used to measure cortical bone mineral density (BMD) and muscle area at the proximal radius, trabecular BMD at the distal radius, and cortical BMD at the third finger. Hand grip strength was assessed using dynamometry. Muscle area and hand grip strength were corrected for the limb dominance effect.

RESULTS
All subjects had reduced trabecular BMD at the distal radius on the affected side (?, -5.8%; P < 0.001) and reduced cortical BMD in the third finger (?, -2.8%; P < 0.05). Hand grip strength was significantly lower on the affected side. According to vascular patency, only subjects with nonpreserved blood flow had significantly reduced distal radius BMD (?, -6.7%; P = 0.004), and those with nerve damage had a significant reduction in BMD at the third finger (?, -3.5%; P = 0.05). Moreover, nerve injury was associated with the presence of clinical symptoms and hand functional impairment.

CONCLUSIONS
The absence of blood flow and nerve damage after forearm trauma caused by involuntary cutting/piercing injuries causes remarkable permanent impairment in musculoskeletal structures, hand grip strength, and hand functionality.