BACKGROUND: Treatment of fracture dislocations of the PIP joint represents a hand surgical challenge. In hemi-hamate arthroplasty, the palmar joint surface is reconstructed using an osteochondral graft from the hamate and the immediate stability permits early movement.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We performed hemi-hamate reconstructions in 10 patients (mean age 34.9 years), who sustained fractures of the base of the middle phalanx of ≥50% surface and dorsal PIP dislocations. Outcomes were assessed by clinical exam and X-ray. Evaluation criteria were range of motion of PIP and DIP joints, grip strength, joint alignment, complications and donor site morbidity. Mean follow-up was 8.6 months (range 3-14). Fractures mostly involved the 4th and 5th fingers, all patients were male. Indications were subluxation and comminuition in acute cases of <6 weeks (5 patients) and chronic pain and morning stiffness in chronic cases (5 patients).
RESULTS: Operative treatment was performed in average after 93 days (range 0-371 days) after injury. Average PIP motion was 71° (range 0-90); DIP motion was 54° (range 10-90) with a mean PIP flexion contracture of 6.5° (range 0-20). Grip strength averaged 95% of the opposite hand. 4 patients had revision surgery (2× arthrolysis PIP joint, 2× screw shortening, 1× neurolysis R. dorsalis N. ulnaris).
CONCLUSIONS: Hemi-hamate autograft arthroplasty represents an effective procedure to address severe PIP joint fracture dislocations. It restores the comminuted articular surface in chronic injuries and in the acute injury it is a challenging but valuable alternative to extension block splinting. However, donor site morbidity and revision surgery have to be taken into account.