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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1997 May;79(3):412-7.

Treatment of displaced proximal humeral fractures in elderly patients.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, Söder Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


We randomised 40 elderly patients of mean age 74 years with displaced three- or four-part fractures of the humerus to either conservative treatment or tension-band osteosynthesis. At one year and after three to five years, clinical follow-up showed no functional differences between the two groups of patients, with optimal function achieved within one year. There were major complications only in the surgically-treated group. Radiological review showed that surgery had improved the position of the fractured humeral head, but this was not reflected in improved function. Semi-rigid fixation with tension-band wiring of displaced multifragment fractures of the proximal humerus in the elderly did not improve the functional outcome when compared with conservative treatment.

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