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 OJO  Vol.4 No.5 , May 2014
Pediatric Supracondylar Humerus Fractures: Are Medial Pins Indicated?
Abstract: Background: Pediatric supracondylar humerus fractures are the most common elbow fractures in children. Operative management includes closed reduction and placement of 2 to 3 laterally based pins. Occasionally, a medial pin is used to create a crossed fixation pattern, despite risk of nearly 10% iatrogenic ulnar nerve injury. The objective of this study was to assess the trends and outcomes in the operative management of pediatric supracondylar humerus fractures at a level one academic trauma center. Materials & Methods: A retrospective review was performed on all children sustaining a Gartland type II or III supracondylar humerus fractures treated by closed or open reduction and percutaneous pinning in 2006-2008 and 2009-2011 at a level one academic trauma center by two of the authors (JTR, LMT). Pin placement patterns were evaluated and compared based on year performed. Outcomes measured were rates of ulnar nerve symptoms, non-union, re-operation, and varus malalignment. Data analysis was performed using a Fisher exact test on STATA software. Results: A total of 49 patients met inclusion criteria. Of 22 patients treated in 2006-2008, 5 (23%) were type II and 17 (77%) were type III. From 2009-2011, 16 (59%) were type II and 11 (41%) were type III. Comparison of pinning pattern in type II fractures between 2006-2008 and 2009-2011 did not indicate statistical significance (p = 0.429). Comparison of pinning pattern in type III fractures during the same time period did show that there was a statistically significant decrease (p = 0.010) in the number of cross pin fixations. There were no ulnar nerve injuries, non-unions, re-operations, or varus malalignment in any patient on final follow-up. Conclusion: This study shows that there has been a significant decrease in cross pin fixation for pediatric type III supracondylar humerus fractures with equivalent clinical outcomes at a Level I trauma center. Furthermore, performing lateral pinning for type III fractures has eliminated the risk of iatrogenic ulnar nerve injury. Level of Evidence: Level III—Retrospective cohort study.
Cite this paper: Dezfuli, B. , Larkins, C. , Ruth, J. and Truchan, L. (2014) Pediatric Supracondylar Humerus Fractures: Are Medial Pins Indicated?. Open Journal of Orthopedics, 4, 123-129. doi: 10.4236/ojo.2014.45021.
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