Precontoured Parallel Plate Fixation of AO/OTA Type C Distal Humerus Fractures

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Objectives:To determine the clinical effectiveness of precontoured parallel plating for the management of Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA) type C distal humerus fractures.Design:Retrospective case series.Setting:Level I trauma center.Patients/Participants:Between 2001 and 2005, 37 patients with OTA type C distal humerus fractures underwent open reduction and internal fixation exclusively with the Mayo Elbow Congruent Plating system. Thirty-two patients consented to participate in the study.Intervention:All patients underwent open reduction and internal fixation with a precontoured bicolumn parallel plating system.Main Outcome Measurements:Range of motion, Mayo Elbow Performance Score, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand score (DASH), complication rate, and radiographic evaluation.Results:At a mean of 27 months follow up, the mean arc of elbow flexion-extension motion was 97° (range, 10°-145°). The mean Mayo Elbow Performance Score was 82 points and the mean DASH score was 24 points. There were no implant failures and all distal humerus fractures healed. A total of 24 complications occurred in 17 patients (53%) with five patients (16%) having postoperative nerve injuries.Conclusions:Open reduction and internal fixation with a precontoured parallel plating system is an effective treatment method for OTA type C distal humerus fractures. Despite this, the fact that over half of the patients had a significant complication will require utmost vigilance on the part of the surgeon to avoid intraoperative complications. Patient counseling is paramount.

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