Fractures of the distal humerus in elderly patients treated with a ring fixator

Alon Burg*, Michael Berenstein, Joel Engel, Tal Luria, Moshe Salai, Israel Dudkiewicz, Steven Velkes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

The aim of distal humerus fracture treatment is articular surface reduction and stable fixation for early mobilisation and rehabilitation. This is usually performed by open reduction and internal fixation with plates. In the elderly osteoporotic patient this treatment is difficult to achieve due to fixation failure in fragile bone. We present our experience with treatment by closed reduction and external fixation with a non-bridging ring fixator in distal humerus fractures in elderly patients. There were ten females, aged 70-89 (average 78.4). Fracture types (AO/ASIF) included three supracondylar fractures (type A) and seven intercondylar fractures (type C). All patients were treated by closed reduction and external fixation with a non-bridging ring fixator of the distal humerus and immediate postoperative mobilisation of the elbow. External fixation was removed on an average of 72 days (range 62-90). All fractures united. Average time to union was 56 days. Average range of movement at six months was 22° extension lag (range 15°-30°) and 115° flexion (range 110°-120°). Complications included one patient with transient radial palsy and one patient with a superficial decubitus ulcer on the chest wall from the hardware. Minimally invasive treatment by closed reduction and external fixation with a ring fixator is effective for treatment of fractures of the distal humerus in elderly patients with osteoporotic bone. This treatment enables immediate mobilisation of the elbow, and allows return to function. It should be considered an alternative to open reduction and internal fixation or total elbow replacement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-106
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Orthopaedics
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

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