Destructive deformation of the digits with auto-amputation: a review of pseudo-ainhum


*Corresponding author, MD PhD Program, Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, 2160 South First Ave., Bldg 120, 4th floor office of the Dean JM Lee MD PhD, Maywood, IL 60153, USA, tel. +1 708 216 9000; fax +1 708 216 8512; E-mail:


Pseudo-ainhum is an auto-amputation of the digits. Although extremely rare, it is a traumatic and painful experience that can be alleviated with early recognition and intervention. The scientific literature is filled with reports of this interesting but unfortunate phenomenon. To date, a firm causative aetiology has not yet been established. Although reports on this phenomenon have attempted to further our understanding of pseudo-ainhum, a clear understanding has been complicated by the interchangeable use of terms describing this auto-amputation. In this review, we discuss the current understanding, diagnostic criteria, and management of pseudo-ainhum. Furthermore, the nomenclature of pseudo-ainhum is clarified. Ideally, this will allow for more efficient exploration of pseudo-ainhum, its causes, and therapeutic approaches.