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A Retrospective Review of Differences in Complication Rates between Dorsal Percutaneous and Mini-Open Surgical Fixation of Scaphoid Fractures
Objective We retrospectively reviewed the complications of 80 cases of scaphoid screw fixation in acute fractures and early nonunions comparing dorsal percutaneous and mini-open approaches.
Methods We performed a chart review of all patients who underwent surgical fixation of a scaphoid fracture or a nascent nonunion using a dorsal percutaneous or dorsal mini-open technique by a single surgeon. We collected data on patient demographics, including age and smoking status, time to surgery, fracture type, union, and the major and minor complications that occurred in each group. Fisher's exact tests were used to compare the complication rates between the groups.
Results We identified 80 patients who underwent surgical fixation. Of these, 44 underwent percutaneous fixation and 36 underwent mini-open fixation. All fractures went on to heal. There was a total of five complications identified. There were no major complications in the percutaneous group, but one major complication in the mini-open group (a delayed union that eventually healed at 6 months). There were two minor complications in each group. There was no statistically significant difference in total, major, or minor complication rates between the groups.
Conclusions This study suggests that a dorsal percutaneous surgical technique for scaphoid fracture repair does not affect the complication rate despite prior literature to the contrary. Both techniques analyzed produce excellent rates of union with very low complication rates. Surgeon-specific technique rather than operative approach or exposure may be responsible for previously reported complication rates in the fixation of scaphoid fractures.
Level of Evidence This is a level III, therapeutic study.
Received: 26 April 2020
Accepted: 04 August 2020
Article published online:
14 September 2020
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