JOURNAL ARTICLE

Combined use of Kirschner wires and hinged external fixator for capitellar and trochlear fractures: a minimum 24-month follow-up

Shu-Kun He, Si-Chun Zhao, Jin-Hai Guo, Ting-Wu Qin, Fu-Guo Huang
ANZ Journal of Surgery 2018 November 28
30484942

BACKGROUND: Open reduction and internal fixation is the adequate treatment for capitellar and trochlear fractures. Given the low incidence of this type of fractures, it is difficult to constitute a universally accepted method for fixation. Thus, we hypothesised that combined use of Kirschner wires (K-wires), absorbable rods and sutures for fixation and post-operative hinged external fixator for early rehabilitation exercise can restore elbow joint function well.

METHODS: This retrospective study included 20 patients with a mean age of 48.3 (range 16-76) years. According to the Dubberley classification, fractures were classified on plain radiographs, computed tomography images and intra-operative findings. All patients were evaluated by the range of motion of the elbow and the Broberg-Morrey score.

RESULTS: All fractures had healed without non-union, and the average time was 13.6 (range 8-17) weeks. The mean follow-up was 42.5 (range 24-80) months. The mean flexion was 117.1° (range 90°-135°), and the mean extension was 17.5° (range 0°-45°). The mean pronation was 74.4° (range 45°-85°), and the mean supination was 84.3° (range 60°-90°). The average Broberg-Morrey score was 86.2 (range 68-98) points with 10 excellent, 7 good and 3 fair results.

CONCLUSION: K-wires, absorbable rods and sutures combined with hinged external fixator are feasible for fixation of capitellar and trochlear fractures. However, due to the absence of a control group (such as Herbert screw fixation), comparative studies are still needed to demonstrate the safety and reliability of K-wires for fixation.

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