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J Hand Surg Am. 2008 Jul-Aug;33(6):857-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2008.01.040.

Prospective outcomes of comminuted periarticular metacarpal and phalangeal fractures treated using a titanium plate system.

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Department of Orthopedics, Ishinkai-Yao General Hospital, Yao-city, Osaka, Japan.



The purpose of this study was to prospectively evaluate clinical results for open reduction and internal fixation of unstable metaphyseal fractures of the metacarpal and phalangeal bones using a miniature titanium plate.


Fifty-one consecutive patients with periarticular fractures with metaphyseal comminution and displacement were enrolled. Intra-articular involvement with a split or depression fracture was identified in 22 hands. Minimum follow-up was 1 year. There were 37 male and 14 female patients; average age was 38 years (range, 14-63). Of the 51 fractures, 15 were open; 8 of these had additional soft tissue injury, involving neurovascular injury in 4 and extensor tendon injury in 6. The average duration from injury to surgery was 6 days (range, 2-40 days).


Bone union was successfully achieved in all patients over an average period of 2.6 months. The final range of total active motion (%TAM) was excellent (>85%) for 26, good (70%-84%) for 17, fair (50%-69%) for 5, and poor (<49%) for 3. Postoperative complications occurred in 5 patients, including fracture redisplacement in 2, a collapse or absorption of the condylar head in 2, and superficial infection due to hardware exposure in one. Subsequently, 2 of these patients had malrotation deformities or osteoarthritic changes in the injured finger. Plates were removed in 30 cases, and additional surgery was required in 20 cases. Postoperative grip strength averaged 87% of the contralateral side. Statistical analysis revealed that patient age was significantly correlated with %TAM of the injured finger at 1-year follow-up (p < .01), and intra-articular (p < .05) and phalangeal bone (p < .01) involvement, as well as associated soft tissue injury (p < .05), significantly affected the range of finger motion.


Despite the technical demands of plating for comminuted metacarpal and phalangeal fractures, the low-profile titanium plate system was highly effective in maintaining anatomic reduction. The postoperative complication rate was relatively low, and the objective outcomes approached a reasonable level at 1-year follow-up.


Therapeutic IV.

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