In the metacarpal sign, a line drawn along the heads of the 4th and 5th metacarpals will intersect the head of the 3rd metacarpal if shortening is present. The shortened 4th metacarpal is the key to the sign.
The sign is positive in up to 9.6% of normal individuals 3. It is however seen in a variety of conditions.
For a gamut of this sign see: short 4th/5th metacarpal.
- 1. Weissleder R, Wittenberg J, Harisinghani MG. Primer of diagnostic imaging. Mosby Inc. (2003) ISBN:0323023282. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 2. Reeder MM, Bradley WG. Reeder and Felson's gamuts in radiology, comprehensive lists of roentgen differential diagnosis. Springer. (2003) ISBN:0387955887. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 3. Slater Stanley. “An Evaluation of the Metacarpal Sign (Short Fourth Metacarpal).” Pediatrics 46, no. 3 (September 1, 1970): 468-471. [Link].
- 4. Tzaveas A, Paraskevas G, Gekas C et-al. Anatomical variation of co-existence of 4th and 5th short metacarpal bones, sesamoid ossicles and exostoses of ulna and radius in the same hand: a case report. 2008;1 (1): 281. doi:10.1186/1757-1626-1-281 - Free text at pubmed - Pubmed citation