Pediatric supracondylar humerus fractures are the most common elbow injury in children, accounting for 12% to 17% of all childhood fractures. A lack of information exists regarding complication rates on the basis of fellowship status and geography.
The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) Part-II database was used to identify candidates who performed either percutaneous or open treatment of humeral supracondylar or transcondylar fractures between 2002 and 2016 on patients aged 0 to 12 years. Candidates were categorized by fellowship training experience. Information analyzed included fellowship status, surgical procedure, complications, and geographic location of treatment. Data were analyzed utilizing the χ2 and Fischer exact tests and were considered significant if P≤0.05.
A total of 9169 cases (mean, 5.36+2.27 y; range, 0 to 12) were identified between 2002 and 2016, 8615 of which were treated with closed reduction and percutaneous pinning, whereas 554 were treated with an open procedure. The 5 most common fellowships treating these fractures were listed as pediatrics (4106), sports medicine (1004), none (912), trauma (732), and hand/upper extremity (543). Pediatrics performed the highest number of open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), however, reported the statistically lowest percentage of ORIF. A statistically significant difference was identified between surgical complication rates and fellowship specialties, with pediatrics having the lowest complication rate (7.0%), followed by no fellowship (8.2%), trauma (9.0%), sports medicine (9.8%), and hand/upper extremity (11.2%) (P<0.001). This significant difference was also present when analyzing closed reduction and percutaneous pinning alone (P=0.002), however, not with the analysis of ORIF.
Early career pediatric fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeons are more likely to treat pediatric supracondylar humerus fractures. Overall, although they treat more patients with ORIF than any other group, their percentage treated with ORIF is statistically the lowest. A significant difference in reported complication rates was found to be associated with specific fellowship training, with pediatric fellowship-trained surgeons having the fewest complications and foot/ankle fellowship-trained surgeons associated with the highest rate of reported surgical complications.
Level of Evidence:
Level III—retrospective cohort study.