[Fractures of the distal humerus in the elderly. Pros and cons of endoprosthetic replacement]

S-O Dietz, T E Nowak, K J Burkhart, L P Müller, P M Rommens
Der Unfallchirurg 2011, 114 (9): 801-14; quiz 815
The intraarticular fracture of the distal humerus in an elderly patient remains a challenge for trauma surgeons. In case of severe co-morbidities and/or osteoporosis stable fixation with screws and plates is difficult and in some cases can be impossible. Even if osteosynthesis is feasible the clinical outcome is still incalculable due to delayed or non-union of the fracture fragments. Endoprosthetic replacement of the elbow joint for comminuted distal humerus fractures has been used for almost 20 years. The clinical results are predominantly excellent or good and better predictable than those of osteosynthesis. There still is no guideline when a prosthesis for the elbow joint should be used. We reviewed the literature and outline the current recommendations for diagnostics and surgical therapy for distal humerus fractures in the elderly.

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