[Analysis of anterolateral approach and lateral approach for the treatment of coronal shear fracture of the distal humeral]

Y Li, Y J Cha, T Li, M Q Gong, X Y Jiang
Beijing da Xue Xue Bao. Yi Xue Ban, Journal of Peking University. Health Sciences 2016 December 18, 48 (6): 1026-1031

OBJECTIVE: To treat the coronal shear fracture of the distal humeral during open reduction and internal fixation by anterolateral approach and lateral approach, and to analyze the advantage and disadvantage of each approach.

METHODS: From September 2006 to July 2014, 10 patients with coronal fracture of the distal humeral were analyzed, who were all treated with Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF), 5 with anterolateral approach (group A) and 5 with lateral approach (group B). For the anterior-lateral approach, the radial nerve and brachioradialis were retracted laterally and the brachialis was retracted medially, the capsule was incised and the fracture line was exposed, usually the capitellum and the lateral part of the trochlear could be exposed clearly but the exposure was limited. For the lateral approach, the brachioradialis was retracted anteriorly, the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) was protected or released from the starting point on the lateral condyle of the humeral, the elbow could be dislocated and the capitellum and part of the trochlear could be exposed. The fractures were classified with the system of Dubberley, the complications were analyzed and the ultimate results were evaluated according to the Mayo elbow performance index (MEPI).

RESULTS: For group A, 4 re-operations were performed, 2 for the irritation of the screws,1 for stiff elbow and 1 for failure of the internal fixation. One radial nerve injury happened but recovered later. The mean MEPI was 82 points. For group B, 1 failure of the internal fixation and instability of the elbow happened. The revision operation was performed for this patient. The mean MEPI was 91 points.

CONCLUSION: Lateral approach is better,it gives more exposure for the joint and the radial nerve is safe, but the trochlear is difficult to be exposed, and the LCL must be protected or repaired during the operation. Anterolateral approach can be used to expose the capitellum and the radial side of the trochlear, but the radial nerve is dangerous and more complications may happen.

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