Supracondylar fractures of the humerus in children

Service de Chirurgie Orthopédique et de Traumatologie, CHU Habib-Bourguiba, route el Aïn km 0.5, 3000 Sfax, Tunisie.
Revue de Chirurgie Orthopédique et Réparatrice de l Appareil Moteur (Impact Factor: 0.55). 12/2006; 92(7):651-6.
Source: PubMed


The most frequent type of elbow fracture in children is by far the supracondylar fracture. This type of fracture also raises the greatest risk of nerve injury. We wanted to study the clinical and prognostic features of nerve injuries in children presen-ting supracondylar fractures of the humerus.
We analyzed the files of 55 children with nerve lesions identified among 1 180 files on supracondylar fractures in children. Most presented Lagrange and Ribault stage IV fractures. Nerve injuries involved the radial nerve (n=28), medial nerve (n=20), and ulnar nerve (n=7). The nerve injury was diagnosed before treatment in 32 children, and after treatment in 23. When nerve injury was identified before treatment, closed reduction had been used for eleven fractures and open reduction for 21. Nerve injury identified after treatment was found in eleven fractures after closed reduction and in 12 fractures after open reduction.
When nerve injury was recognized at the initial examination, spontaneous nerve recovery was achieved in all cases, irrespective of the treatment modality, within a maximum of four months. When nerve injury was recognized after treatment, spontaneous nerve recovery was obtained in twenty cases. Time to recovery was longer. The three other cases required nerve exploration with neurolysis for two and a nerve graft for one.
Nerve injury discovered after treatment is either caused by or aggravated by the treatment. Prognosis is less favorable than for injuries discovered at the initial examination. This highlights the importance of carefully searching for nerve deficit, even partial deficiency, in all children presenting a supracondylar fracture of the humerus. It also emphasizes the importance of care in obtaining bone reduction if the initial examination did not reveal any nerve deficit.

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    ABSTRACT: The most common elbow lesions found in pediatric practice are supracondylar fractures. We compared two groups of 34 patients each with a supracondylar humerus fracture grade III (Gartland classification). The first group was treated with percutaneous pinning with Kirschner wires, with patients in a supine position, sometimes preceded by transkeletal traction. The second group was treated with percutaneous pinning with Kirschner wires, with patients in a prone position, within 6 h of the trauma. No statistically significant differences with regard to clinical outcomes and neurovascular complications were revealed in the comparison. Therefore, we can state that both treatment techniques used are valid.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2011 · Journal of pediatric orthopaedics. Part B / European Paediatric Orthopaedic Society, Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America
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    ABSTRACT: Supracondylar fractures of the humerus in children are important for frequency and type of associated serious complications. The management of this kind of fractures is still controversial (Skaggs et al. in J Bone Joint Surg Am 86:702-707, 2004; Kalllio et al. in J Pediatr Orthop 12:11-15, 1992). We are going to present our experience in the treatment of supracondylar humeral fracture in children. In the Orthopedic Department of Pisa, we treated 150 cases from 1989 to 2006. We are used to perform, emergency or within 12 h, reduction and two lateral-entry percutaneous pins fixation. The mean age was 7.5 years. We checked 125 cases, because we excluded all the cases with follow up less then 5 years. The mean follow up was 8.2 years. We used Gartland classification modified by Wilkins. We evaluated 125 cases by using the Flynn classification: 100 % of patients did not have impairment of the elbow joint mobility. We had seven valgus deviation, one of which was more then 10°. We also had 17 varus deviations, 11 of which were not over 8° and only 2 of them were 15°. The average value of the joint Baumann angle was calculated as great as 16°. The obtained results were classified as very good 80 %, good 11 %, sufficiently good 6 %, and bad 3 %. In our experience, all the fractures type II and III by Gartland have to be treated within 12 h, with closed reduction and stabilization with lateral-entry K-wire technique. The conservative treatment by cast is indicated only in type I fracture. The trans olecranic treatment is not realizable, for the stiffness which can occur, for the risk of iatrogenic ulnar nerve lesion, and for long-time hospitalization. The open reduction remains the first choice treatment for exposed or nonreducible fractures, and in cases of vascular injury.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · MUSCULOSKELETAL SURGERY