Nail bed INJury Analysis (NINJA) Pilot Study
The team have submitted a first stage application to the NIHR RfPB panel for funding for a full trial.
The NINJA-Pilot data is being analysed. The original audit data and clinician and patient surveys have been published as has the NINJA-P protocol. Details in the 'outputs' box.
Should the nail plate be replaced or discarded after nail bed repair in children?
The NINJA Pilot Study (funded by the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, BSSH) is a pragmatic multicentre study to assess whether the nail should be replaced or discarded after nail bed repair in children. The pilot will inform the design and conduct of a larger NINJA study with regards to recruitment, data collection and outcome measurement. The Surgical Intervention Trials Unit (SITU) at the University of Oxford, will co-ordinate the trial. This is the first plastic surgery trial of its kind and will form part of a developing research portfolio for the plastic surgery community.
Nail bed injuries are common and account for the majority of paediatric hand trauma cases treated by hand surgery units. The typical patient is a toddler who has caught their finger in a closing door. A single tertiary referral hand surgery unit will on average treat two to three patients with nail bed injuries per day.
Despite their frequency, controversy remains around the best treatment of nail bed injuries. Without proper treatment, injury to the nail complex has the potential to cause considerable dysfunction and/or deformity. The long-accepted surgery to repair the nail bed involves removing the fingernail (which is often broken or partially detached already) and carefully repairing the nail bed underneath using tiny dissolving stitches. This is important to help the new nail to grow out smoothly and look as normal as possible in the future. After repairing the nail bed, the surgeon can do one of two things:
1. Replace the old nail before applying dressings
2. Discard the nail and apply dressings straight onto the nail bed.
In both techniques, a new fingernail grows out from the base of the nail bed over a few months. The old nail cannot grow again after it has been removed and it is eventually pushed off by a new nail growing underneath it. Both of these techniques are routinely done by surgeons in the NHS, but we don’t know which one is best.
The rationale for replacing the nail is that it both protects the nail bed repair and acts as a ‘splint’ by holding open the nail fold and preventing scarring between the nail fold and the nail bed (synechiae). However, there is no evidence that replacing the nail has better results than not replacing it and there is a suggestion that it may be associated with a small risk of infection. Therefore the aim of a large NINJA study will be to find out if there is any difference between the two techniques.
Assess and monitor recruitment of patients to a study of this nature
Identify any conflict or areas of concern with conducting research with this patient population and with the Plastic Surgery network
Evaluate the recruitment process
Test assessment tools to be used
Monitor patient compliance with follow up procedures
Gather information to develop the larger study and to calculate how many patients will be required for this
Randomisation will occur in the anaesthetic room via an internet portal. Follow up is at 2 weeks, 30 days and 4 months post randomisation.
Co-Chief Investigator and PI at Lead Site
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust
Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Oxford
Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust
‘Trainee’ Lead, NINJA Study Group
Matthew D. Gardiner
Trainee Lead, RSTN
Research Portfolio Manager
Clinical Trials Administrator
This group conducted the audit, clinician and patient surveys.
Frank Acquaah, Sadia Afzal, Shirwa Sheik Ali, David Beard, Kamal Bisarya, David Bruce, Jonathan Cook, Cushla Cooper, Nicola Farrar, Dominic Furniss, Jenifa Jeyakumar, Max Horwitz, Hawys Lloyd-Hughes, Natalie Pease, Gordon McArthur, Adrian Murphy, Julia Ruston, Hassan Soueid, Makarand Tare, Ricardo Tejero, Evgenia Theodorakopoulou and Claire Zweifel.
Gardiner MD, Jain A, Sierakowski A, Grieg A on behalf of the RSTN NINJA Collaborative*. Results of a national survey of nail bed repair practice. BSSH Autumn Scientific Meeting 2014, London
Greig A on behalf of the NINJA Pilot Trial Group*. Nail bed INJury Analysis (NINJA). BAPRAS Winter Scientific Meeting 2015, Birmingham.
Sierakowski A, Gardiner MD, Jain A, Grieg A and RSTN NINJA Collaborative*. Surgical treatment of paediatric nail bed injuries in the United Kingdom: Surgeon and patient priorities for future research. JPRAS 2015. In press.
Jain A, Sierakowski A, Gardiner MD, Beard D, Cook J, Cooper C, Greig A. Nail bed INJury Assessment Pilot (NINJA-P) study: should the nail plate be replaced or discarded after nail bed repair in children? study protocol for a pilot randomised trial. Pilot and Feasibility Studies 2015. 1-29.
*See collaborators section