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Percutaneous elastic intramedullary nailing of metacarpal fractures: surgical technique and clinical results study.

BACKGROUND: We reviewed our results and complications of using a pre-bent 1.6 mm Kirschner wire (K-wire) for extra-articular metacarpal fractures. The surgical procedure was indicated for angulation at the fracture site in a true lateral radiograph of at least 30 degrees and/or in the presence of a rotatory deformity.

METHODS: A single K-wire is pre-bent in a lazy-S fashion with a sharp bend at approximately 5 millimeters and a longer smooth curve bent in the opposite direction. An initial entry point is made at the base of the metacarpal using a 2.5 mm drill by hand. The K-wire is inserted blunt end first in an antegrade manner and the fracture reduced as the wire is passed across the fracture site. With the wire acting as three-point fixation, early mobilisation is commenced at the metacarpo-phalangeal joint in a Futuro hand splint. The wire is usually removed with pliers post-operatively at four weeks in the fracture clinic.

RESULTS: We studied internal fixation of 18 little finger and 2 ring finger metacarpal fractures from November 2007 to August 2009. The average age of the cohort was 25 years with 3 women and 17 men. The predominant mechanism was a punch injury with 5 diaphyseal and 15 metacarpal neck fractures. The time to surgical intervention was a mean 13 days (range 4 to 28 days). All fractures proceeded to bony union. The wire was extracted at an average of 4.4 weeks (range three to six weeks). At an average follow up of 8 weeks, one fracture had to be revised for failed fixation and three superficial wound infections needed antibiotic treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: With this simple and minimally invasive technique performed as day-case surgery, all patients were able to start mobilisation immediately. The general outcome was good hand function with few complications.

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