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Should we bury K-wires after metacarpal and phalangeal fracture osteosynthesis?

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BACKGROUND: Burying Kirschner wires (K-wires) under the skin after metacarpal and phalangeal fracture osteosynthesis may reduce risk of infection, but it might also complicate later removal.

PURPOSE/AIM OF STUDY: To examine infection and reoperation rates after metacarpal and phalangeal fracture osteosynthesis with buried versus exposed K-wires.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Metacarpal and phalangeal fractures treated with K-wire osteosynthesis at our institution from 1st of January, 2009 to 1st of February, 2015 were identified retrospectively. The final study population included 444 patients, 331 with metacarpal, 109 phalangeal and 4 with mixed fractures. Surgical and patient records were examined 90 days postoperatively.

FINDINGS/RESULTS: 337 patients (75.9%) were treated with buried K-wires and 107 patients (24.1%) with exposed (non-buried) K-wires. 14 patients (4.1%) treated with buried K-wires presented with postoperative infection, opposed to 7 patients (6,5%) treated with non-buried K-wires (p = 0.311). None of the postoperative infections caused re-operation. Only one case of deep/severe infection was recorded in a patient treated with buried K-wires requiring intravenous antibiotic treatment. In 58 of 337 patients (17.2%) treated with buried K-wires, removal was not possible in the outpatient clinic and required readmission for removal in the operation theatre. All exposed K-wires could be removed in the out-patient clinic without re-operation.

CONCLUSIONS: We found no difference in postoperative infection rate between metacarpal and phalangeal fracture osteosynthesis with buried versus exposed K-wires. However, the high readmission and reoperation rate (17.2%) after burying K-wires should call for reconsideration of surgical strategies.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftInjury
Vol/bind49
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)1126-1130
Antal sider5
ISSN0020-1383
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 1 jun. 2018

ID: 55135709