Complications of Low-Profile Plate Fixation of Phalanx Fractures.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Background: Phalanx fractures are common, and plate fixation can be used to treat difficult fractures. Major complications have been reported in up to 64% of phalanx fractures treated with plate fixation, with stiffness being the most common. Low-profile anatomic plates (LPAP) have been designed to decrease soft tissue irritation and postoperative stiffness. The objective of this study was to determine whether the use of LPAP has decreased complications in plate fixation of phalanx fractures. Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed of patients with phalanx fractures treated with open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) using LPAP at a single institution from January 1, 2010, to January 25, 2018. Twenty-three patients with 23 phalanx fractures treated with LPAP were included. The primary outcome was the presence of a complication. Results: Of the 23 patients, 12 patients (52.2%) had a postoperative complication. Nine patients (39.1%) required return to the operating room, with 7 (30.4%) returning for removal of hardware and tenolysis/capsulotomy. Two patients (8.7%) had superficial infections, one requiring irrigation and debridement. The other infection resolved clinically after 2 courses of oral antibiotics, with the fracture going on to nonunion. One patient had delayed wound healing treated prophylactically with cephalexin; although the wound healed, the patient developed a boutonniere deformity requiring surgery. There were 2 malunions (8.7%), one requiring revision surgery and the other electing for nonoperative management. All but one fracture progressed to union. Conclusions: ORIF with LPAP consistently achieves fracture union for phalanx fractures, but it does not appear that LPAP reduce the high complication rate.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Guerrero, EM; Baumgartner, RE; Federer, AE; Mithani, SK; Ruch, DS; Richard, MJ

Published Date

  • March 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 248 - 252

PubMed ID

  • 31204487

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8041415

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1558-9455

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/1558944719855684


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States