Executive Editor: Chris Colton

Authors: Pol Rommens, Peter Trafton

Humeral shaft

back to skeleton


Retrograde nailing approach

Incision & deep dissection

Make an 8-10 cm straight skin incision on the dorsal aspect of the upper arm, proximally from the tip of the olecranon and in line with the longitudinal axis of the humerus.

Sharply incise the subcutaneous layer.


Split the triceps tendon longitudinally. Separate the edges with right angle retractors.


Expose the dorsal supracondylar region of the humerus.

Protect the elbow joint capsule during preparation of the dorsal bone surface.


The visible area of the bone should extend proximally for about 25 mm from the edge of the olecranon fossa.

Palpate the medial and lateral columns of the distal humerus to confirm the bony anatomy.

v1.0 2006-09-14