0
Scientific Articles   |    
How Displaced Are “Nondisplaced” Fractures of the Medial Humeral Epicondyle in Children? Results of a Three-Dimensional Computed Tomography Analysis
Eric W. Edmonds, MD1
1 Rady Children's Hospital and Health Center, 3030 Children's Way, Suite 410, San Diego, CA 92123. E-mail address: ewedmonds@rchsd.org
View Disclosures and Other Information
Disclosure: The author did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of his research for or preparation of this work. Neither he nor a member of his immediate family received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity.

A commentary by Desmond Brown, MD, is available at www.jbjs.org/commentary and is linked to the online version of this article.
Investigation performed at Rady Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, California

Copyright © 2010 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2010 Dec 01;92(17):2785-2791. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.I.01637
A commentary by Desmond Brown, MD, is available here
5 Recommendations (Recommend) | 3 Comments | Saved by 3 Users Save Case

Abstract

Background: 

The management of fractures of the medial humeral epicondyle is controversial, but the primary issue is the relationship of outcomes to the extent of fracture displacement. This study compares the use of radiographs and three-dimensional computed tomography for determining the amount of displacement in medial humeral epicondylar injuries deemed to be minimally displaced (<5 mm) or nondisplaced.

Methods: 

A retrospective review was performed on the cases of all patients with a fracture of the medial humeral epicondyle that had been diagnosed as minimally displaced or nondisplaced who were seen over a one-year period at our institution. Measurements of medial and anterior displacement on both the radiographs and three-dimensional computed tomography scan were recorded. Measurements of displacement were also recorded on internal oblique radiographs of the elbow, if available. Demographics, treatment, and any additional findings by computed tomography scans were noted. Means and Student t tests were utilized for statistical analysis.

Results: 

The eleven patients who met the inclusion criteria had a mean age of 12.2 years (range, 7.3 to 15.4 years). One fracture that involved the medial condyle on the computed tomography scan was excluded from the analysis. Anterior displacement was immeasurable on all but one lateral radiograph and recorded as 0 mm; the mean was 0.9 mm, which was significantly less than the anterior displacement on the three-dimensional computed tomography scan (mean, 8.8 mm; range, 0 to 15 mm) (p = 0.001). Conversely, mean medial displacement on anteroposterior radiographs was 3.5 mm (range, 0 to 8 mm), which was significantly more than that measured on three-dimensional computed tomography scans (mean, 0.3 mm; range, 0 to 1.9 mm) (p = 0.001). Mean displacement on internal oblique radiographs of the elbow was 6.6 mm (range, 0 to 10.5 mm) and matched the anterior displacement measurement on the three-dimensional computed tomography scan in three of the six patients (p = 0.037). Five of the six fractures with >1 cm of displacement by three-dimensional computed tomography scan underwent surgical treatment.

Conclusions: 

Standard radiographs (anteroposterior and lateral views) are not sufficient to measure anterior displacement nor accurate enough to measure medial displacement of medial humeral epicondylar fractures. Internal oblique radiographs of the elbow appear to approximate the true anterior displacement, but three-dimensional computed tomography is the most accurate method to assess true displacement. The results of this study demonstrate that fractures that are found to be minimally displaced or nondisplaced by radiographs may have >1 cm of anterior displacement, for which surgery is usually recommended.

Level of Evidence: 

Diagnostic Level I. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Figures in this Article
    Sign In to Your Personal ProfileSign In To Access Full Content
    Not a Subscriber?
    Get online access for 30 days for $35
    New to JBJS?
    Sign up for a full subscription to both the print and online editions
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities, to comment on public articles, or to sign up for alerts.
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities
    Have a subscription to the print edition?
    Current subscribers to The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery in either the print or quarterly DVD formats receive free online access to JBJS.org.
    Forgot your password?
    Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.

     
    Forgot your username or need assistance? Please contact customer service at subs@jbjs.org. If your access is provided
    by your institution, please contact you librarian or administrator for username and password information. Institutional
    administrators, to reset your institution's master username or password, please contact subs@jbjs.org

    References

    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
    CME Activities Associated with This Article
    Submit a Comment
    Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
    Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discretion of JBJS editorial staff.

    * = Required Field
    (if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
    Example: John Doe





    Related Content
    The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
    JBJS Case Connector
    Topic Collections
    Related Audio and Videos
    Clinical Trials
    Readers of This Also Read...
    JBJS Jobs
    04/02/2014
    W. Virginia - Charleston Area Medical Center
    02/28/2014
    District of Columbia (DC) - Children's National Medical Center
    12/31/2013
    S. Carolina - Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Medical Univerity of South Carlonina
    12/04/2013
    New York - Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai