Evidence-Based Medicine: Management of Metacarpal Fractures

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Learning Objectives:

After reading this article, the participant should be able to: 1. Understand metacarpal anatomy and its role in fracture pathology. 2. Determine when surgical intervention is needed for metacarpal fractures. 3. Understand the various treatment options for surgical fixation of metacarpal fractures. 4. Describe the role for external fixation in managing difficult metacarpal fractures.


Metacarpal fractures are common injuries that plastic surgeons should be able to evaluate and treat. The goal of this review is to highlight current evidence for managing metacarpal fractures. This Continuing Medical Education article consists of a literature review, illustrations, videos, and an online Continuing Medical Education examination.


The authors reviewed the scientific literature from 2000 to 2015 regarding treatment of metacarpal fractures. Cadaver models were used for instructional videography demonstrating common surgical techniques. Multiple-choice questions were created to review pertinent topics. A discussion and references are provided.


Numerous treatment options have been described for metacarpal fractures, including splinting, percutaneous fixation, open reduction with internal fixation, and external fixation. All modalities are acceptable strategies for treating metacarpal fractures. The ultimate goal is to maximize hand function with minimal morbidity.


A thorough understanding of treatment modalities is helpful in evaluating and managing metacarpal fractures. Although the current literature supports a wide array of treatment strategies, high-level evidence to guide fracture management remains lacking.

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