Major traumatic amputations and replantations of the upper extremity in Germany - National quality reports 2014-2018
The treatment of traumatic major upper limb amputation is complex and of great urgency. Loss of time often represents a majorrestriction for replantation. Thus, logistical and infrastructural developments, such as the expansion of specialised hand trauma centres, are crucial for optimizing delivery of care. Surveillance represents the fundament for a proper, demand-adapted implementation of such therapeutical improvements. However, a comprehensive database for surveillance of these injuries does currently not exist in Germany or Europe. In this study quality reports of German hospitals from 2014 to 2018 were screened retrospectively for traumatic major upper extremity amputations and replantations. A total of 329 amputations and 87 replantations were recorded, accounting for an overall replantation rate (RR) of 26%. Most of the injuries affected the level of the wrist and forearm. Treatment of these injuries experienced an increasing centralisation to medical teaching facilities, which accounted for higher RRs compared with non-teaching facilities. The cumulatively most populous federal states handled most of the amputation injures in this five-year study period. Ratio calculations on the basis of population counts, however, revealed great discrepancies to these results, with Hamburg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland accounting for the highest per capita incidences. In 2018 Germany was provided with 46 specialised hand trauma and replantation centres, which performed 45% of the replantations in that year, revealing a RR of 17%, compared to an overall RR of 14% in that year. Nevertheless, there might be potential for improvement in the geographical distribution of these specialised centres. The provision of highly specialised therapy in highly specialised centres for highly complex injuries is a future challenge in replantation surgery. This data is contributing to logistical improvements for a need-adapted expansion of these specialised hand trauma centres. The study demonstrates an approach of a standardised and comprehensive injury surveillance program based on national quality reports, while underlining the importance of such a national or rather European database for optimisations in medical care. Level of evidence IV.