Indocyanine green fluorescence angiography (ICG-FA) is a validated non-invasive imaging tool used to assess tissue perfusion and guide intra-operative decision making in many surgical disciplines. Clinical assessment of tissue perfusion following crush or degloving traumatic hand injuries presents a significant challenge.
This case report supports the critical role of intra-operative ICG-FA as a decision aid in complex hand trauma. We propose ICG-FA will minimise unnecessary tissue debridement, negating complex soft tissue reconstructive surgery and ultimately expediting tissue healing and return to function for hand trauma patients. A 35-year-old right hand dominant manual labourer presented to the emergency department after sustaining a crush injury to his right hand. Examination under anaesthetic revealed a comminuted open fracture of middle finger P2 with compromised soft tissue coverage. A formal assessment of hand perfusion was performed using a triad of clinical assessment, critical judgement and ICG-FA. The ICG-FA revealed a small skin flap affecting the dorsoradial P2 skin which was not perfused.
This prompted meticulous minimal debridement of this tissue and prevented unnecessary over-debridement that would have resulted in complex soft tissue reconstruction. Currently the gold standard assessment for tissue perfusion in hand injuries is clinical judgement and is limited by subjective interobserver error . IGA-FA has been proven to offer a real time assessment of tissue perfusion. This case demonstrates the use of ICG-FA as an adjunct to clinical examination and judgement, to optimise the accuracy of soft tissue perfusion assessment in complex hand trauma.