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Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics:
doi: 10.1097/BPO.0b013e3181653ac8
Trauma: Original Article

How Safe Is the Operative Treatment of Gartland Type 2 Supracondylar Humerus Fractures in Children?

Skaggs, David L. MD; Sankar, Wudbhav N. MD; Albrektson, Josh MD; Vaishnav, Suketu MD; Choi, Paul D. MD; Kay, Robert M. MD

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Whereas operative treatment of supracondylar fractures is now standard of care for Gartland type 3 supracondylar humerus fractures in children, the treatment of type 2 fractures remains somewhat controversial. The purpose of this article was to examine the safety and efficacy of closed reduction and pinning of type 2 supracondylar humerus fractures in children.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of 189 type 2 supracondylar humerus fractures operatively treated at one tertiary care children's hospital from 2000 to 2006. Data were acquired from a review of radiographs and clinical notes.

Results: We found no intraoperative surgical or anesthetic complications in our series. None of our cases lost reduction after closed reduction and percutaneous pinning. There were 4 pin tract infections (2.1%) in our series: 3 were treated with antibiotics, and 1 needed irrigation and debridement in the operating room. This was the only patient who required reoperation for any reason.

Conclusions: In this study, the largest reported series of type 2 supracondylar humerus fractures in children, we found an extremely low rate of complications after closed reduction and percutaneous pinning; secondary operations were also uncommon (0.5%). Our series demonstrates a high probability of satisfactory outcome after operative treatment of type 2 supracondylar fractures compared with previous studies of children treated by closed reduction without pinning.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic study, level 4 (case series [no or historical control group]).

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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