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Management of grade III supracondylar fracture of the humerus by straight-arm lateral traction
Int Orthop. 2007 Apr;31(2):155-8 Sadiq MZ, Syed T, Travlos J.
Supracondylar fracture of the humerus is a common upper limb fracture in children for which treatment is controversial and often technically difficult, and complications are common. Cubitus varus is the most prevalent complication encountered in such fractures, with a mean incidence rate of 30%. A variety of methods for treating displaced fractures have been recommended. We reviewed 20 cases of severely displaced grade III supracondylar fractures of the humerus in children. There was marked swelling and distorted local anatomy in all these fractures, which were managed conservatively with straight-arm lateral traction. The patients were treated in skin traction for 2 weeks, following which they commenced physiotherapy. The traction was applied with the arm at 90 degrees of abduction and the forearm in supination. None of the patients developed any complication, and all had the full range of movements. None had cubitus varus deformity, and none of these patients required further surgical treatment. There was a complete patient and parent satisfaction. Open or closed reduction with internal fixation is the most common method of treating these injuries, however in some cases this can be very difficult and dangerous. If the local anatomy and swelling do not allow this treatment then non-operative measures have to be adopted. We conclude that straight-arm lateral traction is a safe and effective method of treating these fractures, especially when the local anatomy is disturbed and the swelling makes operative intervention relatively more risky and difficult. Moreover, this method is also appropriate in areas where access to specialised centres in treating these injuries is either difficult or delayed.
Type: Reference Material
Author/Contact: Sadiq et al
Submitted by: admin
Added: Mon Jan 19 2009
Last Modified: Sat Nov 07 2009