Executive Editor: Chris Colton

Authors: Mariusz Bonczar, Daniel Rikli, David Ring

Distal humerus

back to skeleton


Lateral approach (Kaplan)

The Kaplan approach is a frequently used lateral approach which provides excellent exposure of the:

  • Proximal radius
  • Anterior facet of the coronoid process
  • Anterior facet of the distal humerus

Medial approach

In the medial approach, care must be taken not to compromise the ulnar nerve, or and the posterior branch of the medial cutaneous antebrachial nerve.

Transolecranon approach

This approach involves an osteotomy of the olecranon to allow better access to the elbow joint.

This approach gives excellent access for distal fractures.

Posterior triceps-on approach

For some extraarticular and simple articular fractures of the distal humerus, the posterior triceps-on approach, which leaves the triceps insertion intact, can provide adequate exposure for reduction and fixation.

Triceps-elevating approach

The triceps elevating approach offers an extensile posterior exposure to the elbow, which allows for an effective restoration of the triceps function.

Safe zones

Inserting percutaneous instrumentation through safe zones reduces the risk of damage to neurovascular structures.

Anterior approach

The anterior approach can be used to access the bicipital tuberosity of the radius, the coronoid process, and the capitellum and trochlea.

v1.0 2007-06-21