, Volume 120, Issue 3-4, pp 171-175

Treatment of proximal humerus fracture using multiple intramedullary flexible nails

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A total of 61 patients with a proximal humeral fracture was treated between January 1996 and March 1998 by closed reduction and fracture fixation with intramedullary Prévot (or Nancy) nails. Of these, 28 female and 25 male patients with a mean age of 52 years (range 3–¶91 years) were reviewed clinically and radiologically with a mean follow-up of 17 months (range 4–30 months). The mean Constant score was 63, the mean Neer score 74 and the mean visual analogue scale (VAS) 73. The 14 patients under 24 years old achieved a Constant score of 86, a Neer score of 99 and a VAS of 97, while 13 patients aged between 25 and 60 years had a Constant score of 67, a Neer score of 75 and a VAS of 71. The 26 patients older than ¶61 years had a Constant score of 48, a Neer score of 61 and a VAS of 61. One patient with total and 6 with partial humeral head necrosis as well as 5 pseudarthroses were noted. Proximal nail perforation of the humeral head due to fracture collapse was seen in 22 cases. Complications were more frequently observed in the elderly. End results were not related to the type of fracture. This minimally invasive technique decreases the rate of occurrence of avascular necrosis of the humeral head. However, fractures are not sufficiently stabilised, mainly because of bone loss induced by impaction and osteoporosis. Bone loss remains an unsolved problem, and alternative methods such as the use of bone substitute combined with minimally invasive techniques should be studied.

Received: 11 March 1999