Scientific Article|Articles in Press

Complications Following Intramedullary Screw Fixation for Metacarpal Fractures: A Systematic Review

Published:March 04, 2023DOI:


      There has been a recent increase in the use of intramedullary screws (IMS) for the surgical treatment of metacarpal fractures. While IMS fixation has been shown to produce excellent functional outcomes, postoperative complications have yet to be fully explored in a comprehensive way. This systematic review quantified the incidence, treatment, and results of complications following IMS fixation for metacarpal fractures.


      A systematic review was performed using PubMed, Cochrane Central, EBSCO, and EMBASE databases. All clinical studies that documented IMS complications following metacarpal fracture fixation were included. Descriptive statistics were analyzed for all available data.


      Twenty-six studies were included: 2 randomized trials, 4 cohort studies, 19 case series, and 1 case report. Among the 1,014 fractures studied, 47 complications were reported across all studies (4.6%). Stiffness was the most common, followed by extension lag, loss of reduction, shortening, and complex regional pain syndrome. Other complications included screw fracture, bending, and migration; early-onset arthrosis; infection; tendon adhesion; hypertrophic scar; hematoma; and nickel allergy. Eighteen of the 47 (38%) patients with complications underwent revision surgery.


      Complications following IMS fixation of metacarpal fractures are relatively uncommon.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Therapeutic IV.

      Key words

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