Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences between the dorsal and lateral plate position for metacarpal and phalanx fractures.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of prospectively collected patient data for 186 fractures treated by a single surgeon between 2009 and 2011. Rates of plate removal, total arc of postoperative motion (TAM), and patient and injury demographics were tested for association with plating position.

Results: Increasing age, larger plates, and dorsal plating were found in univariate analysis to be associated with decreased TAM and increased plate removal in phalanx but not in metacarpal fractures.

Conclusions: These data suggest that dorsal plating results in decreased TAM and increased rates of plate removal in some fractures. TAM was greater in phalanx fractures treated with lateral plating and therefore this plating technique should be considered when treating these fractures.

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