Extensor Mechanism-sparing Paratricipital Posterior Approach to the Distal Humerus

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Summary:Adequate exposure of the articular surface of the distal humerus and elbow joint is required for operative stabilization of bicolumnar distal humerus fractures. The transolecranon approach, which provides complete posterior visualization and access to the distal humerus, is commonly used. Nevertheless, an olecranon osteotomy and other extensor mechanism-disrupting approaches have risks and possible complications. Alternative exposures have been described primarily for total elbow arthroplasty, but these involve extensive and potentially devascularizing dissections. In extra-articular (OTA type A) and simple articular distal humeral fractures with simple or multifragmentary metaphyseal involvement (OTA type C1 and C2), extensile approaches may not be necessary. For these fracture patterns, an alternative exposure is the extensor mechanism-sparing paratricipital posterior approach to the distal humerus through a midline posterior incision. This approach avoids an osteotomy and mobilizes the triceps and anconeus muscle off the posterior humerus and the intermuscular septae and provides adequate exposure for open reduction and internal fixation.

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