Management of isolated coronal shear fractures of the humeral capitellum with Herbert screw fixation through anterolateral approach

Tengbo Yu, Hao Tao, Fenglei Xu, Yanling Hu, Chengdong Zhang, Guangjie Zhou
BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2018 April 5, 19 (1): 108

BACKGROUND: Due to the intraarticular and complex nature of the coronal shear fracture of the humeral capitellum and its rarity, it has been difficult to formulate a universally accepted method of surgical management. The purpose of this study is to retrospectively evaluate the clinical outcomes of 15 patients with isolated coronal shear fractures of the capitellum treated by Herbert screw fixation through anterolateral approach, and to address the safety and tips for this surgical procedure.

METHODS: This retrospective study included 15 isolated coronal shear fractures of the capitellum without posterior involvement, which were classified according to the Dubberley classification as 11 type 1A fractures and 4 type 3A fractures. All fractures were treated with Herbert screws fixation via the anterolateral approach. Clinical and radiographic evaluation was performed regularly, with a mean follow-up of 29 months.

RESULTS: The mean operative time was 81 min. There were no wound healing problems or infection. One incomplete posterior interosseous nerve injury occurred, which recovered soon without residual compromise. All fractures healed well. At the final follow-up, the average range of motion was 134°in flexion-extension and 172°in supination-pronation. There was no significant difference between the affected and the unaffected elbows with regard to motion in flexion-extension or flexion-extension. The average Mayo Elbow Performance Index Score was 93 with 11 excellent and 4 good. No evidence of avascular necrosis, posttraumatic osteoarthritis, or heterotrophic ossification was found.

CONCLUSION: Open reduction and internal fixation using Herbert screws through a anterolateral approach is a reliable and effective treatment for coronal shear fractures of capitellum, and able to achieve stable fixation and restoration of a functional range of motion.

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