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Natural History of Unreduced Gartland Type-II Supracondylar Fractures of the Humerus in ChildrenA Two to Thirteen-Year Follow-up Study
Luis Moraleda, MD1; María Valencia, MD1; Raúl Barco, MD, PhD1; Gaspar González-Moran, MD1
1 Pediatric Orthopaedic Unit (L.M. and G.G.-M.), Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Unit (M.V. and R.B.), Departamento de Cirugía Ortopédica y Traumatología, Hospital Universitario La Paz, Paseo de la Castellana 267, 28046 Madrid, Spain. E-mail address for L. Moraleda: luis.moraleda@salud.madrid.org
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Investigation performed at the Hospital Universitario La Paz, Madrid, Spain

A commentary by R. Dale Blasier, MD, FRCS(C), MBA, is linked to the online version of this article at jbjs.org.

This article was chosen to appear electronically on November 28, 2012, in advance of publication in a regularly scheduled issue.

Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. None of the authors, or their institution(s), have had any financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with any entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. Also, no author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2013 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2013 Jan 02;95(1):28-34. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.00132
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The preferred treatment of type-II supracondylar humeral fractures remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the long-term clinical and radiographic outcome of type-II supracondylar humeral fractures in children treated with immobilization in a splint without reduction.


The medical records of forty-six consecutive patients who sustained a supracondylar Gartland type-II fracture of the humerus treated with immobilization in a splint were reviewed. Age at the time of fracture, sex, side involved, dominant extremity, duration of immobilization, and complications were recorded. Radiographic assessment included the Baumann angle, carrying angle, and lateral humerocapitellar angle. Patients returned for clinical evaluation, and the Mayo Elbow Performance Score and the criteria of Flynn et al. were recorded. Patients completed the QuickDASH, an abbreviated form of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire, to measure disability.


The average age (and standard deviation) at the time of fracture was 5.5 ± 2.6 years. The average duration of follow-up was 6.6 ± 2.8 years. The initial lateral humerocapitellar angle was a mean of 12.8° ± 9.8°, the mean Baumann angle was 12° ± 5.7°, and the mean radiographic carrying angle was 9° ± 11.3°. There were significant differences between injured and uninjured elbows at the time of follow-up with regard to flexion (mean, 137.9° ± 9.1° for injured and 144.8° ± 7.1° for uninjured elbows; p < 0.001), extension (mean, 13.2° ± 5.9° for injured and 7.4° ± 5.1° for uninjured elbows; p < 0.001), clinical carrying angle (mean, 9° ± 8.1° for injured and 12.1° ± 4.9° for uninjured elbows; p = 0.003), radiographic carrying angle (mean, 8.9° ± 8.1° for injured and 14.2° ± 5.5° for uninjured elbows; p < 0.001), and lateral humerocapitellar angle (mean, 30.5° ± 11° for injured and 41.9° ± 9.9° for uninjured elbows; p < 0.001). The mean score was 10 ± 15.3 points for the QuickDASH questionnaire, 4.7 ± 12.2 points for the QuickDASH-sports questionnaire, and 95.6 ± 10.5 for the Mayo Elbow Performance Score. According to the Flynn criteria, results were satisfactory in 80.4% of the patients.


Patients with a type-II supracondylar fracture of the humerus treated conservatively had a mild cubitus varus deformity and a mild increase in elbow extension, although functional results were excellent in the majority of patients.

Level of Evidence: 

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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