Intramedullary Screw Fixation of Metacarpal Fractures Results in Excellent Functional Outcomes: A Literature Review

Christina M. Beck, Elan Horesh, Peter J. Taub

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background: Intramedullary fixation of a comminuted subcapital metacarpal fracture using a headless compression screw was first described in 2010. The purpose of this study was to identify and evaluate all studies reporting clinical outcomes of intramedullary screw fixation of metacarpal fractures. Methods: A comprehensive search of the literature was performed under Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses guidelines to identify all relevant studies. Outcome measures included mean followup, evidence of radiographic union, functional outcomes, and quality-of-life measures. Results: Nine articles for a total of 169 metacarpal fractures were identified. Average patient age was 32 years; 86.5 percent of the patients were men; and the majority of fractures occurred in the small finger (74 percent). Most fractures occurred in the neck (n = 66), followed by shaft (n = 31) and head (n = 10). The average follow-up was 11 months, with an average metacarpophalangeal joint flexion of 86 degrees (n = 83) and digit total active motion of 251 degrees (n = 72). Radiographic union was achieved in 100% of reported cases (n = 132) at or before the latest follow-up. Grip strength in four studies showed an average of 96 percent compared to the contralateral hand. No serious complications were reported. Nine minor complications were reported, including four cases of hardware removal in asymptomatic patients. Conclusion: The review of the literature suggests intramedullary fixation of metacarpal neck and shaft fractures using headless compression screws has thus far proven to be a safe and successful surgical treatment option resulting in excellent clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1118
Number of pages8
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019


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