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Comparison of Shoulder Management Strategies after Stage I of Fingertip Skin Defect Repair with a Random-Pattern Abdominal Skin Flap

Feng Zhao, Wei He, Guoping Zhang, Shaojun Liu, Kunlun Yu, Jiangbo Bai, Hongjuan Zhang, Dehu Tian

Department of Orthopedics, The First Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2015; 21:3042-3047

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.894458

Available online:

Published: 2015-10-09

BACKGROUND: In the absence of scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of shoulder management strategies after stage I of fingertip reconstruction, the purpose of this study was to compare the clinical outcomes of various rehabilitation procedures.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Patients who underwent fingertip reconstruction with a random-pattern abdominal skin flap between March 2007 and February 2013 were enrolled in the study (n=95). Thirty performed only active exercise (group A), 29 performed only passive exercise (group B), and 32 received a combination of active exercise and pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) (group C). The mean age at the time of treatment was 30.2 years in group A, 29.6 years in group B, and 31.8 years in group C.
RESULTS: At the final follow-up, there were significant differences between group A and B in terms of Constant score (P=.001), VAS (P=.047), forward flexion of the shoulder (P=0.049), and muscle strength with forward flexion and external rotation (P=0.049 and P=0.042, respectively). A higher Constant score was observed in group C compared to group A, and although there were no differences in the other evaluations between groups A and C, a trend toward better function of the shoulder was demonstrated in group C.
CONCLUSIONS: The most important findings in our study are that a combination of active exercise and PEME produces superior patient-reported outcomes regarding relief of shoulder signs and symptoms. Given the limitations of this study, better-designed studies with large sample sizes and long-term follow-up are required.

Keywords: Adult, Adolescent, Electromagnetic Fields, Exercise, Exercise Therapy - methods, Finger Injuries - surgery, Fingers - surgery, Muscle Strength - physiology, Physical Therapy Modalities, Postoperative Period, Range of Motion, Articular - physiology, Rehabilitation - methods, Shoulder - physiology, Shoulder Joint - physiopathology, Skin, Surgical Flaps - surgery, Wound Healing, young adult