[Functional results of the parallel-plate technique for complex distal humerus fractures]

Ata Can Atalar, Mehmet Demirhan, Ahmet Salduz, Onder Kiliçoğlu, Aksel Seyahi
Acta Orthopaedica et Traumatologica Turcica 2009, 43 (1): 21-7

OBJECTIVES: We evaluated functional results of patients treated with open reduction and internal fixation with the parallel-plate technique for complex distal humerus fractures.

METHODS: Twenty-one patients (14 males, 7 females; mean age 47 years; range 16 to 85) underwent open reduction with olecranon osteotomy and internal fixation with the parallel-plate technique for distal humerus fractures accompanied by highly intra-articular or metaphyseal comminution (n=10), intra-articular comminution and osteoporosis (n=7), and intra-articular and metaphyseal comminution with bone loss (n=4). According to the AO classification, there were 12 C3, six C2, and three C1 type fractures. Eight patients had open fractures. The mean time to surgery was six days (range 1 to 17 days). Functional results were evaluated using the Mayo elbow performance score, Jupiter elbow score, and DASH (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand) score. The mean follow-up was 28 months (range 12 to 48 months).

RESULTS: The mean total range of motion was 90.2+/-31.1 degrees, flexion was 118.1+/-17.4 degrees, and extension was 27.8+/-17.4 degrees. The mean Mayo elbow performance score and DASH score were 86.1+/-12.6 and 7.6+/-9.5, respectively. According to the Jupiter elbow scores, the results were excellent in seven patients, good in 11 patients, moderate in two patients, and poor in one patient. Radiographically, solid union was achieved in all the patients. Heterotopic ossification of varying degrees was seen in seven patients, two of whom underwent resection of heterotopic ossification due to severe limitation of movement. Debridement was performed in one patient due to the development of deep infection. Chondrolysis of the elbow occurred in one patient. Patients with open fractures had significantly lower range of motion than those with closed fractures (p<0.05), but the Mayo elbow performance score and DASH score did not differ significantly in this respect (p>0.05).

CONCLUSION: Functional results are satisfactory in distal humerus fractures treated with stable osteosynthesis and parallel-plate technique that allow early active motion.

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