Randon Hall, MD
Steph Curry Surgical Metacarpal Fracture
Based on reports Steph Curry's injury is to the second metacarpal and requires surgery. However, reports state he will be evaluated to play in 3 month. Such an early call with a lengthy time frame makes one wonder if there are other concerns here. NBA athletes needing surgery have recovered much faster than 3 months. I would look for details regarding other injuries that may have occrued.
What is the most likely surgery to have?
The most common fractures to need surgery would be a metacarpal shaft fracture or a metacarpal neck fracture. An athlete probably would have a pin placed in the hand to stabilize the fracture, as shown below. However, it is possible that an athlete can be taken to surgery just to have the fracture set and no hardware placed, but that is unlikely. The added benefit of surgery in some cases, is to allow an athlete to get the hand moving sooner than if a non-surgical approach was taken. The average individual usually would be put in a cast or placed in a custom hand splint, usually made by a hand therapist. Since the fracture would be stabilized, a removable splint would allow an athlete to get started on early physical therapy. Generally return to play is in about 4-6 weeks once healing is seen on x-ray and pins can be removed.
Surgical Repair of Metacarpal Fracture
Seen below is surgical stabilization of the fracture site with a metal pin. Typically a portion of the pin is left outside of the body so it can easily be removed in the future. Usually the pin is removed once enough healing has occurred to continue to keep the fracture in an acceptable position.
Photo by Masahiko Ohkubo under creative commons