Closed Intramedullary Locking Nailing for Metacarpal Fractures: A Retrospective Study of Sixty-Six Fractures
Introduction: Metacarpal fractures are frequent injuries in the young male working population and the majority are treated non-operatively. There is a growing trend to surgically treat these fractures, with the aim of reducing the deformity and shortening the rehabilitation period. The aim of this retrospective case series is to report on our experience and clinical outcomes of using percutaneous flexible locking nails for the management of displaced metacarpal fractures. This study is a retrospective review of 66 fractures that were managed at our centre over a 7-year period.
Materials and Methods: Records of 60 patients were retrospectively reviewed. Indications for surgery were a displaced metacarpal shaft or neck fracture with associated rotational deformity, or multiple metacarpal fractures. The fracture was reduced by closed manipulation, and a flexible pre-bent locked intramedullary nail (1.6mm diameter) was inserted through a percutaneous dorsal antegrade approach, facilitated by a specially designed pre-fabricated awl. The implant was removed at union. Patients were followed-up in clinic until the fracture had united.
Results: The mean union time was seven weeks (range 2 to 22 weeks) and there were nine (14%) delayed unions (>3 months) and no non-unions. The nail had migrated in three cases (5%) and caused skin impingement in two cases (3%). There was one infected case (2%). Rotational clinical deformity was evident for two (3%) cases.
Conclusion: The use of a minimally-invasive locked intramedullary nailing for unstable metacarpal fractures has a significantly low complication rate, with predictable union times and good functional outcomes.
Abstract | Reference