Three Lateral Divergent or Parallel Pin Fixations for the Treatment of Displaced Supracondylar Humerus Fractures in Children

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Abstract

Background:

To evaluate the efficacy of lateral or parallel pin fixation using 3 smooth Kirschner wires (K-wires) or smooth Steinmann pins for the operative management of displaced supracondylar humeral fracture in a consecutive series of children.

Methods:

Sixty-one consecutive displaced or angled supracondylar humeral fractures (Gartland type II or III) in children (mean age, 5 years 6 months) treated by 2 orthopaedic surgeons between 2001 and 2004 according to the following protocol: close reduction under general anesthesia with fluoroscopic guidance and only lateral percutaneous pinning using 3 divergent or parallel Kirschner wires or Steinmann pins. Minimum 2 years' follow-up was done in all 61 patients (range, 2.0-3.3 years). Clinical assessment was obtained at final follow-up using Flynn criteria, and radiologic assessment was obtained using the Baumann and lateral humerocapitellar angles of both arms. Statistical analysis was performed by means of the Student t test (P < 0.05).

Results:

The study group consisted of 61 patients, of whom 24 (39%) presented with Gartland type II fractures, and the remaining 37 (61%) presented with a type III fracture. A comparison of perioperative and final radiographs shows no loss of reduction of any fracture. There was also no clinically evident cubitus varus, hyperextension, or loss of motion. Eight patients had preoperative nerve palsy. Five of these nerve injuries resolved immediately after surgery, and the other 3 resolved completely within 12 weeks of surgery. After an average of 28 months postoperation, 56 (91.8%) patients had achieved an excellent clinical result, and 5 (8.2%) achieved a good result. There were no iatrogenic nerve palsies, and no patient required additional surgery. One patient had a minor pin-track infection.

Conclusions:

Our series demonstrates that only 3 lateral divergent or parallel pin fixations are effective and safe for avoiding iatrogenic ulnar nerve injury and are appropriate treatment options for displaced or angled supracondylar humeral fractures in children.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic study, level III.

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