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Int Orthop. 2009 Oct;33(5):1289-94. doi: 10.1007/s00264-008-0650-8. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

Post-traumatic distal humerus non-union : Open reduction and internal fixation: long-term results.

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  • 1Division of Upper Extremity and Reconstructive Surgery, Sanatorio Allende - Hospital Nacional de Clínicas, Hipólito Irigoyen 384, Cordoba, 5000, Argentina.


The objective of this paper is to evaluate the long-term functional results achieved after open reduction and internal fixation of 24 distal humerus non-unions. Non-unions were extra-articular-extracapsular (11 cases), extra-articular-intracapsular (8 cases) and intra-articular (5 cases). Preoperative elbow range of motion averaged 45 degrees. Time between original trauma and revision surgery averaged 14 months. Stabilisation methods varied according to type and location of the non-union. Follow-up averaged 46 months (range: 18-108). Elbow range of motion at last examination averaged 98 degrees . Flexion averaged 110 degrees and extension loss averaged 17 degrees . The disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) score averaged 16 points. Secondary transposition of the ulnar nerve was necessary in three cases. Sixteen patients reported no pain at last examination, seven had mild pain and one had moderate pain. Distal humerus non-unions present different characteristics; consequently, surgical treatment must be individualised for each patient. Even though they are demanding procedures, bony union and good long-term functional results were achieved.

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