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Injury. 1998 Jun;29(5):349-52.

Non-operative treatment of comminuted fractures of the proximal humerus in elderly patients.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Stockholm Söder Hospital, Karolinska Institute, Sweden.


The purpose of this retrospective study was to assess the clinical and radiographical results of non-operative treatment of displaced multifragmental fractures of the proximal humerus with a minimum follow-up of 10 years. Fifteen patients (one man, 14 women) with 17 injured shoulders were examined. The Neer classification system was used to classify the fractures, and the functional outcome was assessed using the Constant score. At the 10 year review, the mean Constant score for the patients in the three-part fracture group was 59, and 47 in the four-part fracture group. The range of motion was satisfactory with a mean flexion and abduction over 90 degrees. Only four patients reported pain and it was graded as mild. In spite of low functional scoring and poor fracture reduction in many shoulders, the patient's contentment with their injured shoulder after 10 years with high. Radiographical examination revealed severe osteoarthrosis in one shoulder, and humeral head osteonecrosis in two shoulders. Results from this study suggests that non-operative treatment of displaced three-part fractures of the proximal humerus should be considered.

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