Primary nonoperative treatment of moderately displaced two-part fractures of the radial head

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Background: Moderately displaced two-fragment fractures of the radial head have been treated predominantly nonoperatively. Recently, however, open reduction and internal fixation has gradually gained interest, without clear evidence that initial nonoperative treatment leads to an unfavorable outcome. As a consequence, the purpose of the present study was to evaluate the long-term outcome after the initial nonoperative treatment of this type of fracture. Methods: Fifteen men and thirty-four women, with a mean age of forty-nine years at the time of the injury, were included in the study. All patients initially had been managed nonoperatively for a two-fragment fracture of the radial head that was displaced 2 to 5 mm and that included >= 30% of the joint surface (a Mason type-IIa fracture). Early mobilization had been used for twenty-seven patients, and cast immobilization for a mean of two weeks (range, one to four weeks) had been used for twenty-two. All patients were reevaluated with a questionnaire after a mean of nineteen years, and thirty-four also had a clinical and a radiographic evaluation. Six patients had had a delayed radial head excision because of an unsatisfactory primary outcome. Results: Forty of the forty-nine patients had no subjective complaints, eight were slightly impaired as the result of occasional elbow pain, and one had daily pain. Flexion was slightly impaired in the injured elbows as compared with the uninjured elbows (137 degrees +/- 8 degrees compared with 139 degrees +/- 7 degrees) as was extension (-3 degrees +/- 7 degrees compared with 1 degrees +/- 5 degrees) and supination (86 degrees +/- 7 degrees compared with 88 degrees +/- 4 degrees) (p < 0.05 for all comparisons). The prevalence of degenerative changes on radiographs was higher for the injured elbows than for the uninjured elbows (82% [twenty-eight of thirty-four] compared with 21% [seven of thirty-four]; p < 0.01). Conclusions: The initial nonoperative treatment of Mason type-IIa fractures of the radial head that are displaced by 2 to 5 mm is associated with a predominantly favorable outcome, especially if a delayed radial head excision is performed in the few cases in which the early outcome is unsatisfactory. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.


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Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Ortopedi
Sidor (från-till)1909-1914
TidskriftJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume
Utgåva nummer9
StatusPublished - 2006
Peer review utfördJa