Displaced Supracondylar Humerus Fractures in Children – Are They All Identical?
Introduction: This study aims to ascertain if there are any differences in supracondylar fractures between children under seven years of age and those above 7 years of age.
Materials and Methods: All cases of displaced humerus supracondylar fractures that required surgical stabilization were identified and retrospectively reviewed. Demographic data, mode of injury, associated neurovascular injuries and details of surgery performed were obtained from clinical records. The Gartland classification and the extent of comminution of fractures were also documented from review of radiographs.
Results: One hundred and twelve children were included in this study, of whom 61 (54.46%) were younger than seven years of age while 51 (45.5%) were aged seven years or older. Children aged seven or older had a greater incidenceof associated neurological deficit at presentation (p=0.046). Of the six patients with nerve injury in the older age group, one patient (16.7%) had a radial nerve injury, two patients (33.3%) had ulnar nerve injuries while another two patients (33.3%) had median nerve injuries. There was one patient (16.7%) with both median and ulnar nerve injuries. Comminuted fractures were also more common in the older children (p=0.004). No significant differences were demonstrated between the groups with regard to age, gender and mechanism of injury, laterality, incidence of open fracture, vascular injuries and operative time.
Conclusion: Children aged seven years or older who sustain supracondylar humeral fractures tend to get more comminuted fractures. There is also a higher incidence of associated neurological injury. These cases must be carefully examined for at presentation and parents need to be appropriately counselled about them.
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