Lateral J-plate fixation in comminuted intercondylar fracture of the humerus

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Background:Anatomical reduction and rigid internal fixation of the articular surface is key for functional recovery in types C2 and C3 (AO classification) fractures of the distal humerus. Since these fractures are associated with varying degrees of comminution in both the medial and lateral columns, rigid fixation of both columns is necessary for early mobilization of the elbow joint.Methods:We performed a prospective study of the lateral J-plating technique in 17 patients with comminuted intercondylar fracture of the humerus. There were 9 type C2 and 8 type C3 fractures by the AO/ASIF classification. A lateral J-plate was applied along the lateral aspect of lateral column, and the lag screws were inserted into the medial column through the plate hole. A medial reconstruction plate was selectively applied on the posterior aspect of medial column.Results:All fractures united by 18.7 weeks on average (range 10-28 weeks). Seven patients presented with limitation of motion of the elbow joint, and 5 of them underwent arthrolysis and excision of the heterotopic ossification. The final range of motion of the elbow joint was flexion contracture of 16 deg to further flexion of 121 deg on average. Functional results were excellent in 9 cases, good in 6, fair in 1, and poor in 1 according to Murray's criteria.Conclusion:Lateral J-plating with selective augmentation of the medial column provided suffient rigidity and good clinical results.

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