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Injury. 2012 Jun;43(6):940-5. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2012.02.011. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Predictors of the postoperative range of finger motion for comminuted periarticular metacarpal and phalangeal fractures treated with a titanium plate.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Nara Medical University, Nara, Japan.



Plate and screw fixation was introduced for complex fractures of the hand. Several risk factors for a poor functional outcome have been identified, but there is a paucity of evidence regarding predictors of finger stiffness in difficult hand fractures. The purpose of this prospective cohort study was to identify independent prognostic factors of the postoperative total active motion (%TAM) in the treatment of metacarpal and phalangeal fractures.


Seventy-two patients (62 males, 10 females; 37±15 years) with periarticular fractures involving metaphyseal comminution and displacement were evaluated at a minimum of 1 year following surgery. There were 49 phalangeal bone fractures, 30 intra-articular fractures and 20 associated soft-tissue injuries. The locations of plate placement were lateral in 42 patients and dorsal in 30. The mean duration from injury to surgery was 7.6 days (range, 0-40 days). There were eight examined variables related to patient characteristics (age, gender and hand dominance), fracture characteristics (fracture location, joint involvement and associated soft-tissue injury) and surgical variables (location of plate placement and duration from injury to surgery). Univariate and multivariate linear regression analysis were used to identify the degree to which variables affect %TAM at the final follow-up.


Univariate analysis indicated moderate correlations of %TAM with fracture location, associated soft-tissue injury and age. Multiple linear regression modelling including fracture location, age and associated soft-tissue injury resulted in formulae that could account for 46.3% of the variability in %TAM: fracture location (β=-0.388, p<0.001), age (β=-0.339, p<0.001) and associated soft-tissue injury (β=-0.296, p=0.002).


Phalangeal fracture, increasing age and associated soft-tissue injury were important risk factors to identify the postoperative %TAM in the treatment of comminuted periarticular metacarpal or phalangeal fracture with a titanium plate.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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