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Finger Amputations

The pediatric hand specialists at Children’s Health are experts at treating traumatic hand injuries, including finger amputations of all kinds. From fingertip loss to complete finger amputations, they will guide your child through treatment and recovery.

What is Finger Amputation?

Finger amputations are a common traumatic injury to the hand and may occur anywhere along the length of the finger.  Fingertip injuries, often associated with an injury to the fingernail, are the most common type of finger amputation.

What are the most common causes of a Finger Amputation? 

Amputation injuries are common and may happen when a finger is crushed or closed in something forcefully, cut by something very sharp, or torn off by having something wrapped around the finger and pulled sharply.  Young children are more likely to have fingertip amputations from having their finger closed in a door. Finger amputations involving more of the finger length are often associated with a sharp object or something wrapped around the finger.   

How is Finger Amputation treated?

Each injury is evaluated by experienced hand specialists to determine the optimal treatment plan.  An amputation may require a nail bed repair, fingertip repair, permanent shortening, or reconstruction.   An amputated fingertip may be temporarily reapplied to serve as a “composite graft”, protecting the area as it heals.  Children have an amazing ability to heal and improve the contour of the injured areas as they grow.   You will have access to the Children’s Health team of physician assistants, physicians, casting specialists, occupational therapists and a developmental psychologist to guide your child through their recovery.  

Finger Amputation Doctors and Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I help a child cope with an amputation? 

    • Preparing for amputation

    • Explain the procedure honestly to your child using words that are appropriate for their developmental level.
    • Resources like Child Life Specialists can also help your child understand and prepare for amputation.
    • For younger children, reading books about characters with physical differences can provide a model for positive coping. Some specific recommendations include:

               •The Making of My Special Hand: Madison’s Story (Jamee Riggio Heelan)

               •Oliver’s High Five (Beverly Brown)

    • If possible, it may also be helpful for your child’s teachers and classmates to learn about the amputation in advance. Depending on your child’s age and comfort level, they may be able to provide this information to their classmates themselves; in other situations, their teacher may be able to talk with classmates about what to expect. 

    •Coping with amputation

    • Be patient, listen, and validate your child’s feelings.
    • Encourage returning to normal routines and activities as much as possible – provide support and adjust activities/chores that can’t be done as usual because of the amputation. Let your child do things on their own when they can, and help them figure out new strategies as needed. 
    • Prepare your child for questions and conversations with peers about their amputation by helping them develop a short explanation of their amputation they can use in social interactions. Let your child know it’s okay to say “that’s all I want to share about it” or to change the subject if peers continue to ask questions they don’t feel comfortable answering.