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Aims: Extra-articular fifth metacarpal fractures are treated operatively and non-operatively without consensus. We aim to establish whether there are differences in patient-reported outcome, objective clinical outcome and adverse events for skeletally mature patients with closed extra-articular fractures of the 5th metacarpal that are treated operatively versus non-operatively. Patients: Skeletally mature patients with closed, extra-articular 5th metacarpal fractures. Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials using methodology adapted from the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Review of Interventions and compliant with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. (PROSPERO CRD42018091633). Results: Two trials of 5th metacarpal neck fractures met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final pooled analysis (n = 125). There were no significant differences in patient-reported, objective clinical or radiographic outcomes between the operative and non-operative groups at 12 months. Operatively managed patients reported greater time off work and were more likely to suffer an adverse event. Conclusion: Existing trial data is limited and inconclusive in terms of patient-reported outcome measures. Given that there remains wide variation in the treatment of these common injuries around the world, there is a need for further high-quality evidence to guide clinical practice.

Original publication




Journal article


Jpras open

Publication Date





59 - 71


Fracture, Hand surgery, Systematic review, Trauma