Functional outcome of AO type C distal humeral fractures
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PURPOSE: To review the functional outcome of AO type C distal humeral fractures (bicondylar fractures) managed with dual orthogonal plate fixation. METHOD: Twenty-three patients were reviewed retrospectively at a mean of 45.1 months. Patient-rated outcomes (Disabilities of the Arm Shoulder and Hand [DASH], Patient Rated Ulnar Nerve Evaluation [PRUNE], American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Elbow form [ASES-e], and Short Form-36 [SF-36]), clinical, radiographic, and objective evaluations were used to assess outcomes. RESULTS: Almost 40% of patients required a third plate for adequate fixation. Patients identified minimal subjective deficits (10%) with a mean satisfaction of 93%. The arc of motion was decreased in the flexion-extension plane (122 degrees relative to 138 degrees, p <.01), whereas strength was lower for both elbow flexion-extension and forearm rotation (p <.05). The overall complication rate was 48%, however, most were minor and resolved without further surgery. No ulnar neuropathies were identified at follow-up after routine ulnar nerve transposition. CONCLUSIONS: Outcomes of AO type C distal humeral fractures were good with dual orthogonal plating, ulnar nerve transposition, and early motion. Additional plating may be required with distal fracture patterns or osteopenic bone.
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