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J Orthop Trauma. 2003 May;17(5):319-25.

Two-part and three-part fractures of the proximal humerus treated with suture fixation.

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  • 1Center for Shoulder, Elbow and Sports Medicine, New York Orthopaedic Hospital, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the radiographic and clinical outcomes of patients with displaced proximal humerus fractures (two-part and three-part) treated with nonabsorbable rotator cuff-incorporating sutures.

DESIGN:

Retrospective.

SETTING:

University hospital.

PATIENTS:

There were 27 patients (28 shoulders) with displaced proximal humerus fractures. There were 13 greater tuberosity (GT) and 9 surgical neck (SN) two-part fractures and 6 GT/SN three-part fractures. The average age was 64 years (range 38 to 84 years). The average follow-up was 4.4 years (range 1.0 to 11.5 years).

INTERVENTION:

All patients were surgically treated solely with heavy polyester nonabsorbable sutures.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS:

Functional assessment was obtained using the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) score and Neer's criteria, which grade outcomes as excellent, satisfactory, or unsatisfactory.

RESULTS:

Overall, there were 22 (78%) excellent, 3 (11%) satisfactory, and 3 (11%) unsatisfactory results, and the average ASES score was 87.1 (range 35.0 to 100.0). All shoulders healed radiographically without evidence of avascular necrosis of the humeral head. Twenty-four shoulders (86%) had anatomic alignment on postoperative radiographs. Of four shoulders with nonanatomic alignment, three had ASES scores of >/=90, with excellent Neer scores. When comparing patients with isolated two-part GT fractures (n = 13) with patients having two-part SN or three-part SN/GT fractures (n = 15), there were no statistically significant differences with respect to range of motion (P > 0.05) and outcome measures (P > 0.05). All patients who had unsatisfactory outcomes were noncompliant with physical therapy, with ASES scores averaging 39.4 (range 35.0 to 43.3).

CONCLUSION:

Two-part and three-part GT and SN fractures can be treated satisfactorily with heavy nonabsorbable rotator cuff-incorporating sutures, particularly in elderly patients. Hardware-associated complications are obviated. Patients with SN fractures treated with sutures can have outcomes similar to patients with two-part GT fractures. Although the goal is to reconstruct a "one-part" fracture pattern, some residual deformity does not preclude an excellent outcome. A compliant patient is crucial for a successful result.

PMID:
12759635
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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