Treatment of a Bennett fracture using tension band wiring

Xu Zhang, Xinzhong Shao, Zhijie Zhang, Sumin Wen, Jianxin Sun, Bin Wang
Journal of Hand Surgery 2012, 37 (3): 427-33

PURPOSE: To describe and assess a tension band wiring technique for the treatment of Bennett fractures and to compare this technique of open reduction and internal fixation versus closed reduction and percutaneous pinning.

METHODS: From July 2005 to April 2008, we treated 56 Bennett fractures in 56 patients using tension band wiring. The mean age of the patients was 32 years. There were 37 dominant hands and 19 nondominant hands. The mean time between the injury and operation was 5 days. In this open tension band fixation group, the mean joint surface involvement was 39%, and all injuries were associated with carpometacarpal joint subluxation. At final follow-up, we assessed the thumbs for range of motion and assessed the hands for pinch and grip strength. For comparison, we also included 21 patients who were treated using closed reduction and percutaneous pin fixation from January 2003 to May 2005.

RESULTS: We noted no fixation failures in the open reduction internal fixation group. Radiographic fracture healing was achieved in all patients at a mean time of 4 weeks. Patient follow-up averaged 39 months. At final follow-up, the mean extension-flexion arc of the first carpometacarpal joint was 49°. Mean thumb abduction was 82° and mean pinch and grip strength of the injured hands were 7.4 and 43.0 kg, respectively. There were no significant differences between groups regarding the extension-flexion arc of the first carpometacarpal joint and grip strength. The 2 groups were similar in thumb abduction and pinch strength.

CONCLUSIONS: Open tension band wiring is a useful and reliable technique and presents another fixation option for the treatment of Bennett fractures.

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