Article Type

Original Study


Objective The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of intramedullary fixation of displaced humeral shaft fractures in skeletally immature children using a single elastic stable intramedullary nail. Background Almost all pediatric humeral shaft fractures can be treated successfully using closed methods. Some patients, however, require internal fixation either because of an inability to maintain an adequate reduction, significant soft tissue injury, or concomitant fractures. In this study, the functional and radiological results of the management of humeral shaft fractures in children using a single retrograde elastic intramedullary nail will be evaluated. Patients and methods Twenty pediatric patients ranging in age from 6 to 16 years (mean age 10 years) were treated surgically using a retrograde single elastic intramedullary nail. Relative surgical indications included open fractures, inability to maintain an acceptable reduction, concomitant lower extremity fractures, and closed head injury. Two patients had associated radial nerve injury at presentation. Among the patients, 16 were males and four were females. Results The patients were followed for a mean of 5.5 months, with a range from 4 to 6 months. Radiographically, all fractures healed in good alignment. Solid union occurred from 5 to 10 weeks, with a mean of 8 weeks. There were no intraoperative complications, including neurologic or vascular injury, and two patients developed superficial wound infections postoperatively. Conclusion It was found that single elastic intramedullary nail fixation with the aid of a functional arm brace is an adequate technique for the treatment of humeral shaft fractures in pediatric patients when surgical stabilization is indicated. This simple minimally invasive technique provides stable fixation, with minimal soft tissue stripping at the fracture site, and led to bone union in all the cases studied. Level of evidence Case series, level IV.