Surgical Approach and Internal Fixation Techniques for Intra-Articular Distal Humerus Fracture with Coronal Shear Capitellar Fracture

Andy L. Chang, James D. Dieterich, Eliseo V. Diprinzio, Jaehon M. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Intra-articular distal humerus fractures with an associated coronal shear capitellar fragment present a challenge for stable internal fixation. Adequate visualization and fixation of the capitellar shear fragment are difficult to achieve with conventional exposures, including the olecranon osteotomy. The capitellar fragment often translates anterior and proximally and is challenging to visualize with intact soft tissue attachments from a posterior approach. We describe a surgical exposure that releases the lateral ulnar collateral ligament in addition to an olecranon osteotomy to allow complete visualization of the entire articular surface. In contrast to an isolated capitellar fracture, the column stability and the posterior cortex are frequently disrupted with distal humerus fractures. Depending on the comminution of the posterior cortex, a supplemental posterolateral plate or headless compression screws can provide fixation to the coronal fracture plane. The lateral ulnar collateral ligament is repaired at the conclusion of fracture stabilization through a bone tunnel or to the plate to restore lateral stability. Despite the release of the ligament and additional soft tissue stripping, there were no cases of elbow instability or avascular necrosis in our case series of 9 patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-29
Number of pages5
JournalTechniques in Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • capitellar fracture
  • distal humerus
  • distal humerus approach
  • intra-articular
  • olecranon osteotomy

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