Metacarpal Lengthening in Adults With Brachymetacarpia

Hand (N Y). 2019 May;14(3):339-345. doi: 10.1177/1558944717736859. Epub 2017 Oct 31.


Background: Metacarpal lengthening by distraction osteogenesis has been well documented in pediatric patients but limited in older patients. Fewer studies have assessed the success of the procedure through outcome measure scores. The purpose of this study is to assess the outcomes of distraction osteogenesis in skeletally mature adults with brachymetacarpia and patients' perspectives on their satisfaction through outcome measure scores.

Methods: Retrospective chart review of a consecutive series of metacarpal lengthenings for the treatment of brachymetacarpia was performed. Key parameters collected include starting metacarpal length, amount lengthened, range of motion of metacarpophalangeal joint, type of fixator used, distraction time, and total time in fixator. Relevant comorbidities and complications encountered were recorded as well. The Body Image Quality of Life Inventory (BIQLI) and Limb Deformity Modified Scoliosis Research Society (LD-SRS) score were given to evaluate patients' perspectives on their satisfaction of surgery.

Results: Seven metacarpal lengthenings were performed in 4 adult females (average age: 22.8 years) between 2005 and 2016. The average amount lengthened was 1.5 cm (range, 1.2-2.1 cm), corresponding to a mean percent lengthening of 44.4% (range, 33.3%-57.1%). The mean distraction rate was 0.432 mm/day (range, 0.286-0.724 mm/day). The mean distraction time was 38 days (range, 28-55 days). External fixation index was 71.8 days/cm (range, 53.5-99.2 days/cm). No functional loss was observed.

Conclusions: Progressive distraction osteogenesis can obtain functionally successful results and improvement in aesthetics and body image without severe complications in skeletally mature adults with brachymetacarpia.

Keywords: adults; brachymetacarpia; distraction osteogenesis; metacarpal lengthening; outcome measure scores.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bone Lengthening / instrumentation*
  • External Fixators / trends
  • Female
  • Hand Deformities, Congenital / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Metacarpal Bones / abnormalities
  • Metacarpal Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Metacarpal Bones / surgery*
  • Metacarpophalangeal Joint / physiology
  • Osteogenesis, Distraction / methods*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult