Melbourne Hand Surgery 

COVID news: Elective surgery restrictions have been lifted and we will resume all elective surgeries from 28 September. Please note that all patients who are scheduled for elective surgery admission are required to undertake a COVID test, to obtain a negative ("not infected") result prior to admission, and to self-isolate from the time of test to admission. As Epworth Cliveden remains indefinitely closed at this time Dr Tomlinson does not have any regular surgical lists at Epworth, but her lists continue at The Avenue and Glenferrie Private. 

All suitable consultations at Melbourne Hand Surgery are currently conducted via telehealth (phone or video consultation) to maximise patient and staff safety. We have implemented enhanced hygiene meaures in our rooms including acrylic screens, masks, hand sanitiser, face shields and physical distancing-related changes. We are closed on Fridays.

Victorians are in this together and together we will get through this. Thank you for your understanding as our community works through these unprecedented times together (last updated: 22 September 2020).

DIPJ dislocation

dorsalhandbonesAnatomy

The end joint of the finger is called the "distal interphalangeal joint" (abbreviated as "DIPJ"). It is the joint between the distal phalanx and the middle phalanx bones in the fingers.

Distal interphalangeal joint (DIPJ) dislocation commonly occurs from a sporting injury when there is a blow to the finger. The injury causes stretching or tearing of the ligaments, including the "volar plate" which is the ligament on the front of the joint.

Closed dislocation

hand with ring over bushA closed dislocation is when the joint is dislocated but there is no injury to the overlying skin - so the joint is not "open" to the external world. If a closed dislocation can be relocated it is not necessary to do surgery.

However, it can be difficult to achieve effective splinting of a DIPJ dislocation with a plastic splint, so in instances when this injury is associated with complete avulsion of the volar plate it may be preferable to repair the ligament surgically.

Open dislocation

dislocationDIPJfromRadiopaediaDOTorg

An "open" dislocation occurs when the force of the dislocation tears the tissues overlying the joint, resulting in a wound that allows the joint to communicate with the outside world. This carries a significant risk of infection. Antibiotics and surgical washout of the joint is recommended. At the time of the washout the surgeon will commonly repair any injured ligaments. You will be placed in a splint and commence movement exercises around a week after surgery.

Overall goal

fingers walking up book staircaseThe most important goals in treating a dislocated finger are to end up with a mobile, stable finger. You want your finger to have a full range of movement and to not be unstable in any particular direction. Achieving this requires a careful balance of stillness (splinting) and movement (finger exercises), and sometimes (but not usually) surgery.

FRACS

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