Outcome of Surgical Fixation of Lateral Column Distal Humerus Fractures

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The purpose of this study was to report the long-term outcome and complications of surgically fixated lateral unicondylar distal humerus fractures.


Retrospective Review.


Two level 1 Trauma Centers, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital.


Between 2002 and 2014, 24 patients treated with open reduction and internal fixation for lateral unicondylar distal humerus fractures (OTA/AO type B1 fractures) were retrospectively reviewed.


Open reduction and internal fixation.

Main Outcome Measurements:

Union rates, early complications, functional outcome, and the range of elbow motion were evaluated. Disabilities of the arm, shoulder, and hand, Mayo elbow Performance Index, satisfaction, pain scale, and American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons.


The mean age of patients was 46 ± 23 years at the time of surgery. The average final flexion/extension arc of motion was 108°. Reoperations were performed in 9 of 24 elbows after an average 21 ± 31 months. Twenty of the 24 patients were available for the clinical follow-up at an average of 70 months (range: 16–144 months). Disabilities of the arm, shoulder, and hand averaged at 10.8 ± 11.7 points, satisfaction at 9.5 ± 1.2, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score at 88.5 ± 13.3 points at final follow-up. Based on the functional classification proposed by Jupiter, 16 demonstrated good to excellent results, 2 fair and 2 poor result.


Outcome of open reduction and internal fixation of isolated lateral column distal humerus fractures can result in high union rates with acceptable outcome scores and high patient satisfaction despite a high reoperation rate.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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