Retrograde Intramedullary Screw Fixation for Metacarpal Fractures: A Systematic Review.

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Common forms of fixation of metacarpal fractures have historically included percutaneous Kirschner wire fixation, plates and screws, and, more recently, intramedullary screw fixation. Retrograde intramedullary screws (RISs) are a novel modality first described 10 years ago. The purpose of this review is to critically evaluate the published literature assessing outcomes of RIS fixation for metacarpal fractures and create a complication profile for this novel technique. A comprehensive literature search was performed using electronic databases for both clinical and biomechanical studies in relation to RIS fixation published from 2000 to 2020. A total of 19 studies (13 clinical and 6 biomechanical) met the inclusion criteria. The clinical studies examined 603 metacarpal fractures and demonstrated adequate functional outcomes in terms of grip strength, total active motion, and time to return to work. The biomechanical studies examined 80 metacarpal fractures, finding that load to failure in RISs was often equal to or higher than Kirschner wires but less than plate and screws. The complication rate in reviewed studies was 2.8%, with the most prevalent complications being stiffness and extension lag. RIS use in metacarpal fractures appears to provide adequate stability with satisfactory clinical outcomes and minimal complications, although more high-quality studies are needed to fully examine this modality.


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