Background Conventional methods of external bleeding for congested fingertip replants exhibit notable problems, including uncontrollable bleeding and unpredictable survival of the replant. We have added a local injection of heparin calcium to the routine use of systemic heparinization for inducing external bleeding. We retrospectively examined patients who underwent external bleeding using our method. Methods Local subcutaneous injections of heparin calcium were made in 15 congested replants in addition to systemic heparinization. Each injection ranged from 500 to 5,000 U. The average duration of the injections was 4.1 days. Surgical outcomes were analyzed and compared with a control group of patients who underwent external bleeding without heparin calcium. Results The overall survival rate was 93.3%, which was higher than that of the control group (83.3%), but the difference was not statistically significant (P= 0.569). The survival rate for subzones I and II by the Ishikawa subzone classification was 100%, whereas it was 87.5% in subzones III and IV. No statistically significant difference was observed. The rate of partial necrosis was 0% in subzones I and II, whereas it was significantly higher (66.7%) in subzones III and IV (P=0.015). The mean total blood loss via external bleeding was 588 g in 10 fingers. No patients required blood transfusion. Conclusions Congestion of a replanted fingertip can be successfully managed without blood transfusion by our method. Although complete relief from congestion in replants in subzones I and II is achievable, there is a higher risk of partial necrosis in subzones III and IV.
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