History of “Making a Thumb”

  • Suk Joon Oh


The thumb plays an important role in the hand function. Routine work related to pinch, grip, grasp, and precision handling can be easily accomplished with opposable thumb.

Attempts to restore thumb function were recorded as early as 1874, when Huguier (Arch Gen Med. 1, 78, 1874) reported on the phalangization of the thumb metacarpal. In 1900, Nicoladoni (Arch Klin Chir. 61, 606–14, 1900) described a reconstruction procedure following traumatic amputation of the thumb in which a staged, pedicled transfer of the great toe was performed.

The causes of thumb deficiency are traumatic loss and congenital anomalies. In the late nineteenth century, three basic methods of thumb restoration were established for various levels of amputation. There were digital transplantation, variable reconstruction, and use of hand structures such as phalangization and pollicization.

Congenital thumb anomalies, such as duplication, hypoplasia, and agenesis, are common and have a significant impact on the important functional role of the thumb. In the last century, they were classified and reconstructed with adequate variable techniques.


History Thumb surgery Phalangization Digital transplantation Pollicization 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suk Joon Oh
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Hallym University College of MedicineChuncheonSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Plastic and Burn Reconstructive SurgeryBestian Seoul HospitalSeoulSouth Korea

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