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Is a radiograph needed one week after internal fixation of a supracondylar humeral fracture?

Mansor, Yosifa,,b; Givon, Amirc; Sherr-Lurie, Nira,,b; Seltser, Annaa,,b; Schindler, Amosa,,b; Givon, Uria,,b

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics B: November 2019 - Volume 28 - Issue 6 - p 536–541
doi: 10.1097/BPB.0000000000000659

Displaced supracondylar fractures of the humerus (SCFH) require surgical treatment, most commonly closed reduction with pin fixation. Postoperative displacement following pin fixation is uncommon. Routinely, an early follow-up visit with a radiograph was recommended after fixation of SCFH. The aim of this study was to examine the rate of displacement of SCHF treated with pin fixation using objective radiologic measurements and to determine the need for the early follow-up radiographs. We retrospectively reviewed 161 patients with displaced SFCH treated surgically. The primary outcome measure was loss of reduction (LOR). We examined patient and fracture characteristics and postoperative complications. LOR was defined as a change of 5° or more in measurement of Bauman’s angle or the lateral capitellohumeral angle. After applying exclusion criteria, the study group consisted of 131 patients; 87 (66.4%) were male; the left limb was involved in 76 patients (58%); 98 were classified as Gartland type 3 (74.8%); 118 patients had extension type fractures (90%); complications included nerve injury in 32 patients (24.4%), mostly involving the ulnar nerve (17, 13%). Pin-tract infection occurred in four patients (3%). LOR was found in five patients (3.8%). In all these patients, there was evidence of inadequate fixation in the intraoperative radiographs. When adequate fixation is obtained intraoperatively, the next follow-up radiograph is recommended after 3 weeks, at the time of pin removal.

aDepartment of Pediatric Orthopedics, Edmond and Lilly Safra Hospital for Children, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer

bSackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv

cDepartment of Internal Medicine E, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel

Correspondence to Yosif Mansor, MD, Sheba Medical Center, Beit Eshel 11, Tel aviv-Yafo, Israel Tel: +972 52 839 8913; fax: +972 3 530 2523; e-mail:

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