To prospectively evaluate a displacement-based classification system and an outcome-derived algorithm in the treatment of children with lateral condyle fractures.
All children with a lateral condyle fracture were prospectively enrolled at our institution between 2013 and 2016. Fractures were classified and treated on the basis of the following classification system: type 1: <2 mm; treated with long arm casting, type II: 2 to 4 mm; treated with closed reduction and percutaneous pinning (CRPP), and type III: >4 mm; open reduction and percutaneous pinning (ORPP). Functional outcomes were assessed at 6 to 12 weeks and at 1-year follow-ups using the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument (PODCI).
A total of 55 patients (mean age, 6 y; range 2 to 12 y) were prospectively enrolled. There were 17 (31%) type I fractures treated with a long arm cast, 8 (15%) type II treated with CRPP, and 30 (54%) type III treated with ORPP. Postoperative complications included delayed union (N=5) and pin site infection (N=3). Delayed unions on the basis of fracture type was type I (1/17, 6%), type II (1/8, 13%), and type III (3/30, 10%) (P=0.85). The rate of delayed unions in type II and III fractures fixed with k-wires was 11% (4/38). Four patients required a second operation with screw fixation. No significant differences were found across PODCI domains at 1-year follow-up when comparing our study population with normative data.
This is the first prospective study of a treatment protocol for pediatric lateral condyle fractures and validates the use of displacement as a guide for best evidence-based treatment. Children with a lateral condyle fracture can achieve excellent functional outcomes in all classification types with comparable complication rates when radiographic fracture displacement is used to guide surgical and clinical decision making.
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