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Displaced Supracondylar Fractures of the Humerus in Children-Treatment by Dunlop's Traction



One hundred fifty-six children with supracondylar fractures of the humerus were treated at the Naval Hospital, San Diego, during a recent six-year period. Eighty-one of these patients had sustained moderately to severely posteriorly displaced fractures. Seventy-nine of these patients were treated by Dunlop's traction and were re-evaluated no sooner than six months after their injury. Forty-eight of these patients were personally examined and their end result was analyzed.

Changes in the carrying angle of the involved elbow occurred in 37 per cent with a mean change in the carrying angle of 3.4 degrees. Limitation of motion occurred in 23 per cent with an average loss of less than 10 degrees.

Excellent results were obtained in 80 per cent, good results in 18 per cent, and unsatisfactory results in 2 per cent. There was no instance of ischemic contracture and no permanent neurological deficit.

A roentgenographic method for the determination of fracture angulation in the medial-lateral plane is described as well as a method for the correction of minor to moderate angulation in this plane by varying the rotational position of the forearm after the initial manual reduction.

Dunlop's traction as used in this series has been so consistently satisfactory that it is used for all moderately to severely displaced supracondylar fractures of the humerus in children treated at the Naval Hospital.

From the Department of Orthopedics and the Clinical Investigation Center, Naval Hospital, San Diego, California

Copyright © 1972 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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