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Injury. 2003 Jun;34(6):443-7.

Least possible fixation of fractures of the proximal humerus.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Trafford General Hospital, Manchester, UK.


The purpose of this study was to assess the clinical outcome of an unreported technique of the least possible fixation for valgus-impacted fractures. Using an open technique without any sharp deep soft tissue dissection, the split between the tuberosities is opened to allow elevation of the impacted humeral head fragment. The tuberosities are reduced and repaired with absorbable sutures between the rotator cuff insertions. No bone grafting, Kirschner wire or other fixation device was used. For 11 patients, with an average age of 55 years, who were operated between 1989 and 1998, the mean follow-up period was 69 months. The patients were assessed radiologically and clinically using the Constant-Murley score. As a percentage of the normal side, the Constant-Murley scores ranged from 55 to 100% (mean 86%); there were eight patients with scores >80%, two patients with scores between 70 and 79% and one patient with score <70%. One patient (9%) showed avascular necrosis (AVN). This fixation allows preservation of the soft tissues in an open approach and avoids the dangers of other fixation methods. There is a low risk of AVN and it allows a good functional result.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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