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Orthopedics. 2011 Jan 1;34(2):138. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20101221-30.

Hoffa fracture in a 14-year-old.

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Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8071, USA.


Coronal shear fractures of the femoral condyle (ie, Hoffa fracture) are an uncommon clinical entity typically seen in adults after higher-energy trauma. Historically poor outcomes have been reported in the literature with nonoperative treatment of these fractures. Conversely, open reduction and internal fixation of these fractures has been shown to produce good long-term clinical results in adults. These fractures appear to be even more uncommon in skeletally immature patients, with only 3 case reports documented in the literature to date. Two of the 3 cases presented as a symptomatic nonunion after initial nonoperative treatment. Herein we present a case report of a Hoffa fracture of the lateral femoral condyle in a 14-year-old boy after a wrestling injury. The fracture was treated with diagnostic arthroscopy followed by conversion to an arthrotomy for open reduction and internal fixation. Rigid fixation of the fracture was obtained with 4 headless compression screws. Twelve months postoperatively, the fracture was radiographically healed and the patient was pain free with restoration of full knee motion and return to sporting activity. The Hoffa fracture is a unique and relatively uncommon clinical entity that has a different personality than other intra-articular fractures of the knee in both adults and children. Instability of the fracture fragment can lead to a higher likelihood of nonunion with persistent pain and disability. These fractures should be treated with open reduction and internal fixation to achieve anatomic reduction with stable fixation and preservation of the blood supply to achieve early, active mobilization. We believe this optimizes the chance for good long-term functional results.

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