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Intramedullary Nailing of Metacarpal Shaft Fractures

Orbay, Jorge MD

Techniques in Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery: June 2005 - Volume 9 - Issue 2 - p 69-73
doi: 10.1097/01.bth.0000167253.31976.95

Uncorrected bony deformity or stiffness resulting from a metacarpal shaft fracture can produce a significant functional or cosmetic deficit. Intramedullary fixation of metacarpal shaft fractures using small flexible rods can provide stable internal fixation while minimizing the extent of soft tissue trauma that is associated with more extensive surgical techniques such as plate or screw fixation. The flexible rod is usually introduced in a proximal to distal direction to avoid injury to the metacarpophalangeal joint and extensor mechanism. Closed reduction of the fracture and percutaneous insertion of the rod improve operative efficiency and allow what is truly a minimally invasive procedure. The use of a proximal locking pin greatly enhances fixation and has resulted in an expansion of the surgical indications to include spiral and comminuted fractures. Usually a single locked nail is used, although it is possible to insert multiple nails if necessary. A radiopaque plastic cap can be applied over the cut end of the nail to minimize irritation of the adjacent soft tissues during rehabilitation. Post-operatively, splint or cast immobilization is often unnecessary. The nails are routinely removed after the fracture has completely healed.

Miami Hand Center, Miami, FL

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jorge Orbay, MD, Miami Hand Center, 8905 SW 87 Avenue, Suite 100, Miami, FL 33176. E-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.