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Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2019 May;25(3):281-286. doi: 10.5505/tjtes.2018.59951.

Extension-block pinning to treat bony mallet finger: Is a transfixation pin necessary?

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Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Division of Hand Surgery, Uludağ University Faculty of Medicine, Bursa-Turkey.
Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Baltalimanı Bone Diseases Training and Research Hospital, İstanbul-Turkey.
Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Haseki Training and Research Hospital, İstanbul-Turkey.
Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Ege University Faculty of Medicine, İzmir-Turkey.



Extension-block pinning is a popular treatment for mallet fractures, but it is associated with several pitfalls. Of note, transfixation Kirschner wires used to fix the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint may cause iatrogenic nail bed injury, bone fragment rotation, chondral damage, or osteoarthritis. The objective of this study was to determine whether a transfixation pin was necessary for extension-block pinning in the treatment of bony mallet fracture.


Patients were treated with a pin-orthosis extension-block technique if they had been diagnosed with a type IVB mallet fracture according to Doyle's classification. Radiological outcomes were evaluated based on postoperative X-ray results, and functional outcomes were evaluated using Crawford's criteria.


Thirteen patients (9 males and 4 females) with a mean age of 26 years were included. The mean time between the injury and surgery was 3.3 days, and the mean follow-up period was 8.2 months (range: 4-12 months). Radiographic bone union was achieved in all patients within an average of 5.1 weeks (range: 5-6 weeks). At the final follow-up, the DIP joint had an average degree of flexion of 76.1° (range: 65°-80°) and an average extension deficit of 3.84° (range: 0°-15°). According to Crawford's criteria, 8 patients had excellent results, 4 patients had good results, and 1 patient had a fair result. No patient reported pain at the final follow-up.


Satisfactory clinical and radiological outcomes were obtained with the pin-orthosis extension-block technique. Future prospective and randomized studies are justified to confirm the efficacy of this technique.

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