Closed Reduction and Internal Fixation of Completely Displaced and Rotated Lateral Condyle Fractures of the Humerus in Children


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Abstract

Objective:To determine the usefulness of closed reduction and internal fixation as the initial treatment for completely displaced and rotated fractures of the lateral condyle of the humerus in children.Design:Prospective.Setting:Three Level I trauma centers.Patients:We prospectively studied 24 consecutive completely displaced and rotated lateral condylar fractures of the humerus in children (Jakob Stage 3, 20 boys and four girls) that were treated by three different surgeons working at different hospitals during the same period.Intervention:In 21 fractures, we initially attempted closed reduction and internal fixation; in three, we used open reduction and internal fixation and made no attempt at closed reduction.Main Outcome Measurement:We assessed the preoperative degree of displacement and postoperative radiographic quality of closed reduction. Clinical results were graded using the criteria suggested by Hardacre et al.Results:Eighteen of 24 (75%) completely displaced and rotated fractures were reduced within 2 mm of residual displacement using the closed method. Three fractures were treated with open reduction and internal fixation initially and internal fixation because of one surgeon's lack of confidence in closed reduction, because of lack of experience with it, early in the study period. Closed reduction to within 2 mm failed in three fractures, so open reduction and internal fixation was then performed. There were no significant complications such as limited range of motion, pain, osteonecrosis of the trochlea or capitellum, nonunion, malunion, or early physeal arrest.Conclusion:Closed reduction and internal fixation is an effective treatment for completely displaced and rotated lateral condyle fractures of the humerus in many children.

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