Disclosures: Baumgartner reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
January 29, 2021
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Low-profile plating systems provide reliable fixation for metacarpal fractures

Disclosures: Baumgartner reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
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Low-profile anatomic plating systems offer a reliable fixation option with low complication rates for patients with metacarpal fractures, according to published results.

Researchers from the department of orthopedic surgery at Duke University Medical Center retrospectively analyzed 79 patients with 110 metacarpal fractures who underwent open reduction and internal fixation using a low-profile plate and screw system.

"This study suggests treatment of patients with metacarpal fractures using low-profile plating systems provides reliable fracture fixation with acceptable complication rates."
"This study suggests treatment of patients with metacarpal fractures using low-profile plating systems provides reliable fracture fixation with acceptable complication rates."

According to the study, complication rate was the primary outcome measure, defined as superficial or deep infection, delayed wound healing, delayed union, nonunion by 6 months, extensor lag or stiffness 90 days after surgery or return to the OR.

Overall, 10% of fractures (n = 11) resulted in one or more complications, a rate “significantly less than reported in previous literature with the use of conventional plating systems,” the researchers wrote in the study.

Additionally, 5% of repaired fractures (n = 6) had major extensor lag or stiffness, 4% (n = 4) had minor extensor lag or stiffness, 1% (n =1) had a delayed union (confirmed radiographically) that required no operative intervention and 1% (n =1) had a return to the OR for hardware removal.

“Plate technology has evolved in recent years to minimize common complications, but evidence of lower complication rates using low-profile anatomic plates is lacking,” the researchers added. “This study suggests treatment of patients with metacarpal fractures using low-profile plating systems provides reliable fracture fixation with acceptable complication rates,” they wrote.