Pulp nonfiction: Microscopic anatomy of the digital pulp space

Randy M. Hauck, Linda Camp, H. Paul Ehrlich, Gregory C. Saggers, Dennis R. Banducci, William P. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The volar pad of the fingertip provides a very stable yet sensitive surface that gives the hand the ability to pinch and grasp. The focus of this study was to advance understanding of the anatomical features of the digital pulp space. The unusual features of the fingertip pulp space include prominent collagen fiber cords and a branching continuous fine vasculature. Prominent collagen fiber cords radiating out from beneath the epidermal basement membrane are like the cords of a parachute, which directly attach to the periosteum of the distal phalanx. Those collagen fiber cords are responsible for the firm attachment of the fingertip to the distal phalanx. There is a fine patent vasculature within the pulp space. Also contained in the capsule are numerous lobules of fat, which contribute to some elasticity of the fingertip. Principles of treatment for injuries or infections of the digital pulp should attempt to preserve this anatomical construct so that the firmness and vascular supply of the fingertip are maintained and not disrupted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-539
Number of pages4
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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