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Intramedullary Screw Fixation of Proximal Phalangeal Fractures: Short- to Medium-term Outcomes.

BACKGROUND: Intramedullary screw fixation of phalangeal and metacarpal fractures has gained popularity as a method of providing rigid internal fixation with minimum tendon disturbance, allowing early mobilization and rehabilitation. Despite this, the literature on outcomes using this technique is limited. Thus, the aim of this study was to assess the short-term to medium-term outcomes of intramedullary screw fixation for proximal phalangeal fracture fixation in an Australian setting.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis of consecutive patients with a fracture(s) of the proximal phalanx fixated using intramedullary screws between January 2020 and March 2023 was conducted via telehealth.

RESULTS: Forty-six phalangeal fractures from 37 patients were included in this study. Mean Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score of 6.2 (range: 0-61.4, median: 0), mean pain visual analogue scale score of 1.8 (range: 1-7, median: 1), and mean total active motion of 231° (range: 132-282) were noted. A total of 4.4% of fractures sustained a major complication, and 94.6% of patients reported willingness to undergo intramedullary screw fixation again.

CONCLUSION: This study concurs with the prior literature that intramedullary screw fixation is a safe and effective method of stabilizing extra-articular proximal phalangeal fractures in the short to medium term. Superior clinical outcomes, as well as cost-effectiveness and time-effectiveness, render it a viable alternative to plate fixation in this setting.

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