[Treatment of mid-distal humeral shaft fractures associated with radial nerve palsy using minimally invasive plating osteosynthesis technique]

Zhiquan An, Bingfang Zeng, Xiaojian He, Peiyan Huang
Chinese Journal of Reparative and Reconstructive Surgery 2008, 22 (5): 513-5

OBJECTIVE: To explore the possibility of treating mid-distal humeral shaft fractures associated with radial nerve palsies with minimal invasive plating osteosynthesis (MIPO) techniques.

METHODS: From April 2003 to October 2006, 10 patients with mid-distal humeral shaft fractures associated with radial nerve palsies were treated. All patients were male, aged 19-58 years. According to AO/ASIF classification, there were 4 cases of B1 type, 2 cases of B3 type, 1 case of A2 type, 1 case of B2 type, 1 case of C3 type and 1 case of A3 type. A straight 4.5 mm dynamic compression plate was placed on the anterior aspect of humerus through two small incisions located on the anterior side of proximal and distal part of the arm. The radial nerve exploration was performed through a lateral small incision made on the fracture site. The fractures were then reduced by manual manipulation and the plate was fixated to the main fragments with 3 screws in each end of the plate. The postoperative complications, the bone healing time, and the recovery time of the radial nerve functions were recorded. The functions of the affected shoulder and elbow were assessed with UCLA and Mayo elbow performance score system respectively.

RESULTS: All incision healed by first intention. Ten patients were followed up 9-36 months with an average of 15.7 months. The X-ray films showed that the union of fractures was achieved 12-16 weeks (13.6 weeks on average). The function of the radial nerves recovered completely 12-36 weeks (17.8 weeks on average) in 9 patients. The abductions of the affected shoulder were 150-170 degrees (165 degrees on average). The ROM of the elbows were 130-140 degrees (135.5 degrees on average). According to the UCLA shoulder scoring system, 9 patients achieved the excellent result and 1 patient achieved the good result. All the patients had the excellent results according to Mayo elbow performance score system.

CONCLUSION: The mid-distal humeral shaft fractures associated with radial nerve palsies can be treated with MIPO technique and the good results can be obtained.

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