Distal phalanx fractures are frequently encountered in our daily practice. They are often caused by crush injuries and are the most frequent work-related hand fractures. Different types of fixation have been proposed for displaced fractures.
A retrospective study was performed on two fixation types. Twenty-four distal phalanx fractures were treated with k-wire fixation with fluoroscopic control in a main operating room setting. Twenty-five distal phalanx fractures were treated with hypodermic needle fixation without fluoroscopic control in an emergency treatment room setting. Clinical and radiological data were collected on fracture type, fracture healing and complications. The cost of both types of surgery was assessed.
No significant difference in healing time, union, delayed union and non-union was found between the two groups. Loosening was significantly more frequent in the hypodermic needle group, without affecting clinical or radiographic outcome. No infections were encountered in both groups. Surgery performed in the emergency treatment room reduced the cost with 9000 dollars when compared to surgery performed the main operating room.
Treatment of displaced distal phalanx fractures with hypodermic needle fixation yields good results. Performing this procedure in a treatment room is safe and might reduce operative time, institutional costs and radiation exposure for both surgeon and patients.