Outcome of anatomic locking plate in extraarticular distal h
Background : Extraarticular fractures of distal humerus are challenging injuries to treat because of complex anatomy and fracture patterns. Functional bracing may not provide adequate stability in these injuries and operative treatment with intramedullary nails or conventional plates also has the limitation of inadequate fixation in the short distal fragment. The 3.5 mm precontoured single column locking plate (extraarticular distal humerus plate [EADHP]) has been introduced to overcome this problem. We evaluated the clinical and functional outcomes of treating these fractures with the EADHP.

Materials and Methods : 26 patients with extraarticular fractures of distal humerus presenting within 3 weeks of injury between January 2012 and June 2015, were included in this prospective study. Open IIIB and IIIC fractures, nonunions, or those with a history of previous infection in the arm were excluded. Operative fixation was done using the EADHP in all the cases. The time for union, range of motion at shoulder and elbow and secondary procedures were recorded in followup. The shoulder and elbow function was assessed using the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) shoulder scale and Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS) respectively.

Results : There were 21 males and 5 females with mean age of 37.3 years (range 18-72 years). Twenty two (84.6%) cases had complex fracture patterns (AO/OTA Type 12-B and C). The mean time to fracture union was 22.4 weeks (range 16-28 weeks). The mean followup time was 11.6 months, (range 4-24 months). Four patients (15.4%) had failure of cortical screws in the proximal fracture fragment, of which two required revision fixation with bone grafting. Another nonunion was seen following a surgical site infection, which healed after wound lavage and bone grafting. The MEPS (average: 96.1; range 80-100) was excellent in 81% cases (n = 21) and good in 19% cases (n = 5). UCLA score (average: 33.5; range 25-35) was good/excellent in 88.5% cases (n = 23) and fair in 11.5% cases (n = 3).

Conclusion : EADHP is a reliable option in treating extraarticular distal humeral fractures as it provides stable fixation with an early return to function.

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