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Current Issue - March 2018, Volume 12, Issue No. 1

Official Journal of Malaysian Orthopaedic Association and ASEAN Orthopaedic Association

Actinomycosis of Distal Phalanx Twenty Years after Flap Reconstruction of Index Finger: A Case Report


Actinomycosis is a chronic granulomatous suppurative infection caused by anaerobic bacteria from genus Actinomyces which are normal flora of mouth, colon and vagina. Actinomycosis of upper extremity is rare. We report a case of actinomycosis of the distal phalanx of finger many years after flap reconstruction. The patient presented with two months’ history of chronic discharging sinus from the tip of his right index finger, which had sustained a degloving injury 20 years previously. It had been treated with an anterior chest wall flap which had healed uneventfully but was bulky due to excess tissue from the donor site. Radiograph revealed osetomyelitis changes of distal phalanx. Debulking surgery with curettage of the distal phalanx was done. Wound healing was uneventful. He was treated with six weeks of metronidazole and ciprofloxacin. The discharge from the distal phalanx cultured actinomycosis odontolyticus. Histopathology of the debrided tissue showed chronic inflammation. As far as we are aware, there are no reports of actinomycosis in a flap involving the finger treated previously with a chest wall skin flap. The infection was probably dormant for many years before manifesting as a discharging sinus. Although the finger flap was bulky, it was not problematic until it started to have serous discharge. With a thorough debridement of all infected tissue, six weeks of antibiotic was adequate. Ciprofloxacin was prescribed based on discharge culture sensitivity. Metronidazole was added as actinomycosis is anaerobic. Response was prompt as patient was not immunocompromised. At follow-up six months post-surgery the finger had recovered with good function. If not for the discharging sinus, patient would probably have tolerated his bulky finger for the rest of his life.

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The Malaysian Orthopaedic Journal is a peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year in both print and electronic online version. The purpose of this journal is to publish original research studies, evaluation of current practices and case reports in various subspecialties of orthopaedics and traumatology, as well as associated fields like basic science, biomedical engineering, rehabilitation medicine and nursing.

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