J Reconstr Microsurg 2009; 25(2): 133-137
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1103511
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Periarterial Sympathectomy of the Foot for the Treatment of Necrotizing Raynaud's Phenomena

Zhongyu Li1 , Beth Paterson Smith1 , Martha Holden1 , L. Andrew Koman1
  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
01 December 2008 (online)


Patients with critical peripheral vascular disease and nonhealing toe ulcers secondary to collagen vascular disease often require toe amputation when nonsurgical measures fail to control their symptoms. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of periarterial sympathectomy (PAS) of the foot/ankle in patients with unreconstructable vaso-occlusive disease and nonhealing digit ulcers unresponsive to nonsurgical measures. Five patients (seven feet and nine toe ulcers) were treated with PAS of their involved foot and followed for a minimal of 3 years (3 to 7 years). The technique included PAS of the dorsalis pedis, posterior tibial and anterior tibial arteries. Eight toe ulcers healed uneventfully within 3 months after surgery. Only one patient developed a new ulcer 5 years after PAS. The mean visual analog pain scale improved from 5.7 to 1 (p < 0.03). The mean Wake Forest University (WFU) scale improved from 1.8 to 0.5 (p = 0.07). There was no change in the WFU numbness score or the McCabe Cold sensitivity scale. The results suggest that foot/ankle PAS is a beneficial salvage treatment option for patients with non-reconstructible, vaso-occlusive disease that ameliorates foot symptoms, facilitates healing of toe ulcerations, and reduces the incidence of toe amputations.


Zhongyu Li, M.D. , Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Blvd.

Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1070

Email: zli@wfubmc.edu