Functional treatment of the distal third humeral shaft fractures

Ozcan Pehlivan
Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery 2002, 122 (7): 390-5

OBJECTIVE: The objective of the present study was to determine the effectiveness of functional treatment for distal third humeral shaft fractures in young adults.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A custom-made prefabricated brace was applied for the functional treatment of 21 isolated, closed, distal third humeral shaft fractures of 21 patients (17 male and 4 female). Their average age was 25 years (range 18-37 years). The mean follow-up period was 39 weeks.

RESULTS: All of the fractures united. The average time to union was 12 weeks. The average varus angulation was 7.8 deg in 8 patients, and the average shortening of the fractured limb was 10 mm in 4 patients. Minimal motion restrictions mostly occurred in shoulder abduction and lateral rotation. No patient showed a lack of elbow motion. Angulatory deformities and shortening had no effect on the functional outcome. None of the patients suffered radial nerve palsy during the course of treatment or due to entrapment in the callus of the healed fracture.

CONCLUSIONS: Young adults who have isolated, closed, distal third humeral shaft fractures are good candidates for functional bracing.

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