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J Hand Surg Am. 2013 Feb;38(2):258-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2012.11.015.

Seymour fractures: retrospective analysis and therapeutic considerations.

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Department of Trauma Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



To analyze the management of Seymour fractures (juxta-epiphyseal fractures of the terminal phalanx of the finger in conjunction with flexion deformity at the fracture site, laceration of the nail bed, and frequently ungual subluxation) and to determine clinical and radiographic results following operative or conservative treatment.


Clinical and radiological results of 24 skeletally immature patients (7 girls and 17 boys; mean age, 8.5 y) with Seymour fractures were evaluated. Assessment after a mean follow-up of 10 years (range, 1-18 y) included the range of motion, the modified Kapandji index, growth disturbance of the effected digit and nail, pain according to the visual analog scale, and patients' satisfaction.


Nine patients received nonoperative treatment. Operative management included debridement, open reduction, and fixation in 9. Owing to instability, an additional K-wire passing across the distal interphalangeal joint was used in 5. In 1 patient, the nail was removed. All surgically treated patients received a splint and perioperative cephalosporin. Twenty-three patients out of 24 gained full motion (mean, 80°; range, 65°-90°). The average modified Kapandji index was 5.0 for extension and 4.8 for flexion. Long-term minor growth disturbance of the distal phalanx (seen on radiographs at high amplification only) and nail were noted in 5 patients, and solitary nail dystrophies were observed in 6 patients. Nine of the 11 nail growth irregularities were not a relevant cosmetic problem for the patients. Patients' satisfaction assessment revealed a good clinical outcome. There was neither flexion deformity nor infection in our collective. At the 1-year follow-up examination, the average visual analog score was 0.6 (range, 0-2).


According to the literature, the Seymour fracture is an often-underestimated injury, and open cases are prone to infection. Evaluation of the outcome in our collective demonstrated good results with the treatment approaches described.


Therapeutic IV.

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