Nonoperative treatment is not indicated for intraarticular fractures of the distal humerus, unless there is a general contraindication to surgery.
All adult articular fractures of the distal humerus require open anatomical reduction and stable fixation.
Because adult elbows are notorious for becoming stiff after injury, the goal of operative treatment is anatomical reduction and stable fixation, especially of any joint fragments, so that active motion can be started within a few days of surgery.
Pediatric fractures are considered in Pediatric trauma of Surgery Reference.
|ORIF - Screw fixation|
The choice between standard screw fixation and cannulated screw fixation is usually a question of the surgeon's individual preferences, the equipment available and the operative and imaging facilities.
- Noncompliant patient
- Unacceptable surgical risk
- Extreme osteoporosis
- Anatomical reduction
- Articular congruity
- Early functional aftertreatment
- Reduced risk of degenerate joint disease
- Risk of infection
- Requirement for anesthesia
|Basic surgical experience, no specialized skills|
|Some specialized surgical experience|
|Highly experienced and skilled surgeon|
|Basic equipment only|
|Simple surgical and imaging resources|
|Full specialized surgical and imaging resources|