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Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2008 Dec;1(3-4):190-6. doi: 10.1007/s12178-008-9027-2.

Pediatric supracondylar fractures of the distal humerus.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, 800 Howard Avenue, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Supracondylar fractures of the humerus are a common pediatric elbow injury that are historically associated with morbidity due to malunion, neurovascular complications, and compartment syndrome. True anteroposterior and lateral radiographs are essential not only for an accurate diagnosis, but also for creating a treatment plan for these injuries. A staging system (based on the lateral radiograph) for classifying the severity of the fracture helps guide definitive management. Nondisplaced fractures are treated initially with a posterior splint, followed by a long-arm casting. Closed reduction and percutaneous pinning is the preferred treatment for displaced or unstable fractures. If there is any question about fracture stability, patients should be seen within 5 days postoperatively for repeat radiographs to ensure that the reduction and pin fixation has been maintained. Understanding the anatomy, radiographic findings, management options, and complications associated with this fracture allow physicians to limit the morbidity associated with this relatively common pediatric injury.

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