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J Pediatr Orthop. 2007 Sep;27(6):703-8.

Predicting the outcome of physeal fractures of the distal femur.

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Division of Orthopaedics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA, USA.



: Distal femoral epiphyseal fractures are uncommon but have a high incidence rate of complications. It is not clear whether there are any reliable predictor factors and whether the type of fracture, displacement (degree and direction), and treatment method alter the outcome.


: We retrospectively reviewed the medical charts and images of all patients who sustained a distal femoral epiphyseal fracture and were treated at 2 large level I pediatric centers during the past 10 years.


: The selected group included 73 patients (boys, 59; mean age, 10 years). On the basis of the Salter-Harris classification (SH), 43 fractures (59%) were of type II. Fifty-nine percent of the fractures were displaced; 36 fractures were managed conservatively with long leg cast (with or without pelvic band) in 33 patients, cylinder cast in 2, and posterior splint in 1. Thirty-seven patients underwent surgery, and 34 underwent closed reduction followed by percutaneous fixation (crossed Steinman pins, 20; cannulated screws, 13; open reduction, 3; external fixation, 1). The overall complication rate was 40% (29/73), and growth arrest was the most frequent. The SH classification significantly correlated with the incidence of complications (P = 0.031). There was also a significantly higher (P < 0.0001) incidence rate of complications among displaced fractures (48.8% vs 26.6%); the amount and direction of displacement did not correlate with the outcome (P > 0.05). The group treated conservatively had a lower incidence rate of complications (25%) than did the surgical group (54%) (P < 0.05). Among the surgical group, a higher incidence rate of complications occurred when the physis was violated by hardware (65% vs 30%; P = 0.06).


: Both SH classification and displacement of the fracture are significant predictors of the final outcome. The degree and the direction of displacement do not statistically correlate with outcome. The treatment method may influence the final outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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