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J Orthop Trauma. 2019 Aug;33 Suppl 8:S17-S21. doi: 10.1097/BOT.0000000000001544.

The Community Orthopaedic Surgeon Taking Trauma Call: Radial Neck Fracture Pearls and Pitfalls.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Children's Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO.
Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH.


Pediatric radial neck fractures will inevitably be encountered by the general orthopaedist, and they carry great potential for poor outcomes. Acceptable displacement varies by age, and unlike adults, most of these injuries can be managed by closed means. If they are taken to the operating room, the mainstays of treatment are percutaneous techniques. Increasing patient age, inadequate reduction, unnecessary open reductions, and prolonged immobilization are all associated with worse outcomes, most commonly manifesting as significant elbow stiffness. Knowledge of the age-specific acceptable displacement criteria, a stepwise approach to closed and percutaneous techniques, and safe strategies for open reduction when needed as a last resort will greatly improve treatment success.

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