Traumatic Finger Injuries

Posted on February 2015

Presenter: Scott Sheehan, M.D.

Musculoskeletal Imaging Fellow Scott Sheehan, M.D., continued his impressive streak of award-winning educational exhibits with his contribution to a talk on traumatic finger injuries at RSNA ’14. Winning a magna cum laude award, the exhibit broke down the complex classification system for finger injuries.

The seeds for this project were planted while Dr. Sheehan was still in residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where a team of authors, including Sheehan, won magna cum laude awards for previous presentations on traumatic elbow and spine injuries.

Continuing the series, this talk highlighted the biomechanical forces that cause finger injuries and the resulting damage to soft tissue that occur—damage that is often overlooked by radiologists.

“Interpretation of these injuries should involve more than simply reporting if there a fracture,” said Sheehan. “The anatomy of the fingers is intricate, and seemingly small differences in injury morphology can imply dramatic functional deficits.”

The presentation outlined the most common mechanisms of injury for each part of the finger, and showed the most clinically relevant classification that could be applied. The classifications emphasize the underlying soft tissue injury and potential surgical impact, an important step in the process of treating a patient.

“Deciding whether or not you can treat something conservatively or surgically is the main goal. Doing so answers the question of: do I discharge them from the ED, or do they need to see a surgeon right now,” said Sheehan.

There has been a wealth of positive feedback to the presentation, including an invitation to submit to RadioGraphics, the official journal of the RSNA.