Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Amputated Fingertip Anatomy

To better understand fingertip amputations, it helps to understand the anatomy of the fingernail and fingertip.

Fingernail Anatomy

  • Nail plate:
    • This is another name for the fingernail
  • Matrix:
    • This is the portion of the nail that produces the nail plate. Cells in the matrix eventually form the nail plate
  • Lunula:
    • The white "half moon shaped" area at the base of the nail. The matrix extends down to the edge of the lunula
  • Hyponychium:
    • The hyponychium is the junction of the nail bed and the fingertip skin, beneath the distal free margin of the nail plate
  • Nail bed:
    • The nail bed extends from the lunula to the hyponychium. As additional cells are produced by the matrix, the nail plate progresses (grows) distally on the surface of the nail bed. The nail bed acts as a guiding surface for the advancing nail plate.
  • Eponychium:
    • The thin skin adherent to the nail at its base
  • Perionychium or nail groove:
    • The lateral skin fold; the nail grows distally because it is guided by this fold of skin. Infection or injury to the area can result in a deformed or ingrown nail.

Last Updated: Dec 13, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Amputated Fingertip References
  1. Adani R, Marcoccio I, Tarallo L. Nail lengthening and fingertip amputations. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2003 Oct;112(5):1287-94. [14504512]
  2. Liang HW, Chen SY, Hsu JH, Chang CW. Work-related upper limb amputations in Taiwan, 1999-2001. Am J Ind Med. 2004 Dec;46(6):649-55. [15551379]
  3. McClure SK, Shaughnessy WJ. Farm-related limb amputations in children. J Pediatr Orthop. 2005 Mar-Apr;25(2):133-7. [15718888]
  4. Rosen RC. Digital amputations. Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 2005 Jul;22(3):343-63. [15978406]
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