Does surgical approach affect outcome after fixation of intra-articular fractures of distal humerus? Retrospective cohort study from a level-1 trauma centre in a metropolitan city

Document Type



Orthopaedic Surgery


Fractures around the distal humerus fractures make up to 2% of all fractures. Complex intra-articular distal humerus fractures present as challenge to restore of painless, stable and mobile elbow joint. Surgical exposure to all critical structures is of paramount importance to achieve anatomic reduction. Conflict still persists regarding the choice of ideal approach. In this study we compare the effect of surgical approach triceps lifting vs olecranon osteotomy on the functional outcome after fixation of distal humerus fractures.
Non-funded, non-commercial, retrospective cohort study was conducted on patients with closed distal humerus intra-articular fractures between 2010 and 2015 at our tertiary care level-1 trauma and university hospital. Patients >18 years of age with closed complex intra-articular distal humerus fracture were operated using one of the two surgical approaches, either triceps lifting approach (Group1) or with olecranon osteotomy (Group 2). Functional evaluation using quick DASH scores at 1 year of follow-up. Study is registered with ID:NCT03833414 and work has been reported in line with the STROCSS criteria.
Out of 43 patients 16 were treated with triceps lifting approach and 27 with olecranon osteotomy. The difference between the mean quick DASH score for both groups was not statistically significant (p = 0.52) although higher for group 1. Complications were comparable for both groups but 2 patients suffered delayed union of osteotomy site in group 2.
Triceps lifting approach can be used equally efficiently for exposure of these complex distal humerus injuries with no comprise in visibility of articular fragments. CONCLUSIONS:
ADC values, ADC ratios and ERs may serve as useful variables to distinguish PCL from glioblastoma. The combination of ADC ratio and ER yielded the best results in identification of both patient subgroups


Annals of medicine and surgery.