Operative Management of Intra-Articular Fractures of the Distal Humerus

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SummaryOver a 5-year period (1979–1984), 33 patients with intra-articular fractures of the distal humerus underwent open reduction and internal fixation of their fractures. Twenty-two (67%) of the patients had multiple injuries. Fourteen (42%) of the fractures were open (1 was Grade I, 8 were Grade II and 5 were Grade III). The mean age was 32 years (range: 15–61 years), which is significantly younger than in other series. A subgroup of 25 of the patients was evaluated clinically at a mean of 18.3 months postoperatively. “Excellent” and “good” functional results occurred in 23 patients (92%). “Poor” results were seen in the remaining two patients (8%). Complications occurred in 15 patients (45%). Nine of these complications related to fixation of the transolecranon osteotomy, which was used in 29 patients. The method by which reduction and stabilization was achieved was not as important as obtaining sufficient rigidity, which permitted early motion.

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