Number of screws in the articular segment of distal humerus AO/OTA C-type fractures treated with open reduction internal fixation is associated with complication rate

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Number of screws in the articular segment of distal humerus AO/OTA C-type fractures treated with open reduction internal fixation is associated with complication rate

Authors
  • Grogan, Brian F.
  • Danford, Nicholas C.
  • Lopez, Cesar D.
  • Maier, Stephen P. II
  • Kongmalai, Pinkawas
  • Kovacevic, David
  • Levine, William N.
  • Jobin, Charles M.
Type
Published Article
Journal
SICOT-J
Publisher
EDP Sciences
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2021
Volume
7
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1051/sicotj/2021006
Source
EDP Sciences
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Original Article
License
Green
External links

Abstract

Introduction: Surgical treatment of distal humerus fractures can lead to numerous complications. Data suggest that the number of screws in the distal (articular) segment may be associated with complication rate. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the association between a number of screws in the distal segment and complication rate for surgical treatment of distal humerus fractures. We hypothesize that the number of screws in the articular segment of distal humerus AO/OTA C-type fractures treated with open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) will be inversely proportional to the complication rate. Methods: We performed a single-center retrospective cohort study of 27 patients who underwent ORIF of distal humerus fractures C-type with at least six months of radiographic and clinical follow-up. Clinical outcomes including a range of motion, pain, revision surgery for stiffness and/or heterotopic ossification (HO), nonunion, and persistent ulnar nerve symptoms requiring revision neurolysis were recorded. Results: In C-type fractures, the use of three or fewer articular screws was significantly associated with nonunion or loss of fixation (RR 17, p = 0.006). Nineteen of 36 (53%) patients experienced at least one complication. The surgical approach, plate configuration, age, and ulnar nerve treatment (none, in situ release, transposition) were not associated with the need for revision surgery. Men had a higher risk of requiring surgical contracture release due to improving post-operative stiffness (RR 12, p = 0.02). Conclusion: In this retrospective study, the use of three or fewer screws to fix articular fragments in AO type C fractures was a significant risk for nonunion or loss of fixation. Plate configuration and surgical approach did not correlate with outcomes. Men had higher rates of complications and required more frequent revision surgery compared to women.

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