Purpose: Epicondyle involvement in capitellar and trochlear fractures is often considered a simple associated lesion that does not substantially change treatment or prognosis. Although theoretically predicted in reviews, case series almost never report elbow prosthesis use in comminuted coronal shear injuries associated with epicondylar fracture in the elderly. The purpose of this study is to focus on this underestimated injury pattern that can be a negative risk factor for treatment and prognosis. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all cases with coronal shear fracture of the distal humerus treated from 2016 to 2019. Fractures were classified according to Dubberley. Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) were performed when possible. Partial or total elbow replacement was used in severely comminuted fractures with epicondylar involvement in four elderly patients. Results: Nineteen consecutive patients were selected (mean age: 62.4 years), of which 10 had type 3A/3B fractures, and seven had both medial and lateral epicondylar involvement. The mean follow-up duration was 31.78 months. The average Mayo Elbow Performance Index (MEPI) score was 81.05 points, with 7 excellent, 8 good, 1 fair, and 3 poor results. The average MEPI score of Dubberley’s type 1 and type 2 was better than that of type 3 (mean: 92 vs. 72, p = 0.02). Further, the results of average range of motion were better in patients who had sustained Dubberley types 1 and 2 lesions than those with Dubberley type 3 lesion (mean: 133° vs. 85°, p = 0.002). Two patients out of three who required intra-operative conversion to total elbow arthroplasty had poor outcomes. Conclusions: The simultaneous presence of fracture of one or both epicondyles are usually associated with severe joint comminutions and makes ORIF more challenging, especially among elderly women. In these cases, primary total elbow prosthesis implantation could be a valid treatment option.
Involvement of the medial and lateral epicondyles in distal humeral coronal shear fractures: Case series and literature review / Calderazzi, F.; Schiavi, P.; Pogliacomi, F.; Tacci, F.; Vaienti, E.; Ceccarelli, F.. - In: EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY & TRAUMATOLOGY. - ISSN 1633-8065. - (In corso di stampa). [10.1007/s00590-021-03113-x]
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