The aim of this study was to quantify the articular cartilage defect created with two different antegrade techniques of intramedullary osteosynthesis with a headless compression screw inserted through the metacarpophalangeal joint. In 12 out of 24 fingers from six cadaveric hands, a trans-articular technique with cannulated headless compression screws (2.2 and 3.0 mm diameter) was used; whereas in the other 12 fingers, an intra-articular fixation technique was used. The areas of the articular surface and the defects created were measured with a digital image software program. All measurements were made twice by two observers. In the intra-articular technique, the average defect in the base of the articular surface of the proximal phalanx was 4.6% with the 2.2 mm headless compression screw and 8.5% with the 3.0 mm screw. In the trans-articular technique, the defect size was slightly smaller; 4.2% with the 2.2 mm screw and 8% with the 3.0 mm screw, but the differences were not statistically significant. The main advantage of the intra-articular technique was that it avoided damage to the articular surface of the metacarpal head.