Open reduction and internal fixation of coronal fractures of the capitellum in patients older than 65 years

Yaiza Lopiz, Alberto Rodríguez-González, Carlos García-Fernández, Fernando Marco
Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery 2016, 25 (3): 369-75

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to describe the fracture patterns of capitellum coronal fractures and to evaluate the complications and functional and radiographic outcomes of open reduction and internal fixation in patients older than 65 years.

METHODS: A retrospective study of 23 patients with a mean follow-up of 48 months (36-105) was performed. Fractures were classified according to the Dubberley classification. All patients were evaluated by the Mayo Elbow Performance Index (MEPI) and the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) scores.

RESULTS: Three patients were lost to follow-up. There were 16 type 1 and 4 type 2 fractures. The mean age was 71 years (66-79), and 65% were women. The mean MEPI score was 92 (60-100), and the mean DASH score was 9 (0-75). Either a concomitant fracture or an elbow dislocation was present in 50% of the patients. Mean sagittal plane range of motion at last follow-up was 122° ± 8°, with lower extension in type 2 and worse scores on MEPI (91 vs. 97) and DASH (3 vs. 0) scales. Placement of the screws in the posteroanterior direction was associated with better range of motion in flexion (130° vs. 122°) and better outcomes in functional scores (MEPI, 97 vs. 89; QuickDASH, 0 vs. 4). Complications were post-traumatic osteoarthritis in 3 patients, avascular necrosis in 1 patient, and heterotopic ossification in 5 patients. One patient required reoperation.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients older than 65 years have no substantial risk of complex fracture patterns, but they have a large number of concomitant injuries. Open reduction and internal fixation with cannulated screws allow stable fixation and provide satisfactory functional results with a lower complication rate.

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