Mudgal, Chaitanya S MD; Jupiter, Jesse B MD
As internal fixation of fractures of the hand and wrist has evolved, so too have the implants used for the same purpose. Implants used for the first 1/2 of the 20th century were modeled on implants used to fix long bone fractures. Consequently, they were often bulky. In addition, they often were made of materials which were ill suited to the unique functional and biomechanical requirements of the hand and wrist. As a result, outcomes of internal fixation frequently were suboptimal and complication rates were high. In the past 40 years there has been an evolution in metallurgy, biomechanics, and implant design for fracture fixation in the hand and wrist, quite unlike any other anatomic location in the body. The principal purpose of this review is to highlight these very advances. Implants now are made of highly bio-compatible materials, have a low profile, can be contoured to suit individual anatomy, and provide considerably reduced rates of soft tissue irritation. These features afford surgeons the ability to fix complex injuries in a stable manner so as to institute early rehabilitation in an effort to maximize individual outcomes.
Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research. 445:68-80, April 2006.