Sensate first dorsal metacarpal artery flap for resurfacing extensive pulp defects of the thumb

Shun-Cheng Chang, Shao-Liang Chen, Tim-Mo Chen, Chia-Jueng Chuang, Tian-Yeu Cheng, Hsian-Jenn Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Finding an appropriate soft-tissue grafting material to close a wound located over the distal phalanx of the thumb, especially the pulp region, can be a difficult task. A sensate first dorsal metacarpal artery flap, mobilized from the dorsum of the adjacent index finger and used as an island pedicle skin flap, can be useful for this purpose. The pedicle includes the ulnar branch of the first dorsal metacarpal artery, the dorsal veins, and the cutaneous branch of the radial nerve. Although this tiny artery is anatomically variable, safe dissection can be achieved by including the radial shaft periosteum of the secondary metacarpal bone and the ulnar head fascia of the first interosseous muscle. This approach has been used for 8 individuals with extensive pulp defects of the thumb over the past 3 years. Skin defects in all patients were combined with bone, joint, or tendon exposure. All flaps survived completely. This 1-stage procedure is reliable and technically simple. It provides sensate coverage to the pulp of the thumb but also avoids nerve repair or more complicated microsurgery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-454
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Plastic Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • First dorsal metacarpal artery flap
  • Pulp defect of thumb
  • adult
  • anatomy
  • artery
  • article
  • clinical article
  • dissection
  • dorsal vein
  • female
  • first dorsal metacarpal artery
  • first dorsal metacarpal artery flap
  • graft survival
  • human
  • male
  • pedicled skin flap
  • periosteum
  • phalanx
  • priority journal
  • radial nerve
  • skin defect
  • skin graft
  • surgical technique
  • thumb malformation
  • vein
  • wound closure
  • Adult
  • Arteries
  • Female
  • Fingers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metacarpus
  • Middle Aged
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Thumb


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