The objective of this study was to analyze complications and patient-reported functional outcome after antegrade intramedullary Kirschner-wire fixation of displaced subcapital fractures of the fifth metacarpal bone.
All consecutive patients treated from January 2010 to December 2015 were retrospectively identified using patient logs and radiographic images. Indications for operative fixation were angulation greater than 40 degrees, shortening less than 2 mm, or rotational deficit. Complications were registered from the patient logs. Functional outcome was assessed with the Patient-Rated Wrist/Hand Evaluation (PRWHE) and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand Score (DASH) questionnaires, both ranging from 1-100.
Fifty-one patients could be included, with two patients lost to follow-up. The mean outpatient follow-up was 9 wk, and the interval for functional assessment was 34 mo with 40 patients (78%) having responded to the questionnaires. Forty-seven patients (92%) proceeded to fracture union, while the recovery of two patients was complicated by migration of the Kirschner wires through the distal cortex into the metacarpophalangeal joint respectively 5 and 6 wk after primary surgery. Eight minor complications were registered, including a superficial skin infection, mild local dysesthesia or a 10- to 20-degree extension lag at the end of outpatient follow-up. Overall, in 41 patients (80%) the Kirschner wires were removed. Long-term functional outcome was excellent with mean PRWHE and DASH scores of, respectively, 3 and 6 points.
If surgical treatment is considered, we recommend temporary antegrade intramedullary Kirschner wire fixation as a reliable therapeutic method with a low complication rate and excellent long-term functional outcome.
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