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Indian J Orthop. 2007 Jul;41(3):214-8. doi: 10.4103/0019-5413.33685.

Internal fixation of fractures of the shaft of the humerus by dynamic compression plate or intramedullary nail: A prospective study.

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1
Department of Orthopedics, B. J. Medical College and Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad, India.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The indications for surgical management of fractures of the shaft of the humerus are clear, but selecting the right implant for internal fixation of humeral fractures has been a dilemma.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Thirty-six patients (mean age 40.53 years) with fractures of the shaft of the humerus were followed for 12 to 24 months in a prospective study. Eighteen patients each underwent open reduction and internal fixation with compression plating and ante grade interlock nailing. Clinical and radiographic outcome measures included fracture healing, shoulder and elbow functions, need for additional procedures and any complication such as infection and recovery of radial nerve palsy. The results were analyzed statistically using the SPSS 11.5 software, with parametric and nonparametric tests.

RESULTS:

Nine of the fractures treated with compression plating and seven of those treated with interlock nailing achieved union within six months. Though there was no significant difference in union time between the treatment groups, patients operated with interlock nailing underwent more number of secondary bone grafting procedures to obtain union (six against two). There were 12 patients (66.6%) with excellent and good results in the plating group compared to four patients (25%) in the nailing group. Interlock nailing was associated with significant reduction in shoulder function (P=0.03) and in overall results (P=0.02).

CONCLUSION:

Though there was no significant difference between plating or nailing in terms of time to union, compression plating is the preferred method in the majority of fractures of the shaft of the humerus with better preservation of joint function and lesser need for secondary bone grafting for union.

KEYWORDS:

Fractures of the shaft of the humerus; intramedullary nailing; plating

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