The Treatment of Distal Humerus Fractures

  • Shawn W. O’Driscoll


The goal of restoring normal, pain-free elbow function after a fracture of the distal humerus requires anatomic reconstruction of the articular surface, restitution of the overall geometry of the distal humerus and stable fixation of the fracture fragments to allow early and full rehabilitation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Although these goals are now widely accepted by the orthopedic community, they may be technically difficult to achieve, especially in the presence of substantial osteoporosis or comminution [7].


Radial Head Distal Humerus Distal Fragment Continuous Passive Motion Mayo Foundation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Gabel GT, Hanson G, Bennett JB et al (1987) Intra-articular fractures of the distal humerus in the adult. Clin Orthop 216:99–108PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Henley MB, Bone LB, Parker B (1987) Operative management of intra-articular fractures of the distal humerus. J Orthop Trauma 1:24–35PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Holdsworth BJ, Mossad MM (1990) Fractures of the adult distal humerus. J Bone Joint Surg Br 72:362–365PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    John H, Rosso R, Neff U, Bodoky A et al (1994) Operative treatment of distal humeral fractures in the elderly. J Bone Joint Surg Br 76:793–796PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jupiter JB, Neff U, Holzach P, Allgower M (1985) Intercondylar fractures of the humerus. J Bone Joint Surg 67-A:226–239Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Letsch R, Schmit-Neuerburg KP, Sturmer KM, Walz M (1989) Intra-articular fractures of the distal humerus. Surgical treatment and results. Clin Orthop 241:238–244PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ring D, Jupiter JB (2000) Fractures of the Distal Humerus. Orthop Clin North Am 31:103–113PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Helfet DL, Hotchkiss RN (1990) Internal fixation of the distal humerus: A biomechanical comparison of methods. J Orthop Trauma 4:260–264PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Self J, Viegas SF, Buford WL, Patterson RMA (1995) Comparison of double-plate fixation methods for complex distal humerus fractures. J Shoulder Elbow Surg 4:11–16Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    O’Driscoll S (2000) The triceps-reflecting anconeus pedicle (TRAP) approach for distal humeral fractures and nonunions. Ortho Clin North Am 31:91–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sodergard J, Sandelin J, Bostman O (1992) Post-operative complications of distal humeral fractures. 27/96 adults followed up for 6 (2–10) years. Acta Orthop Scand 63:85–89PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hughes RE, Schneeberger AG, An KN, Morrey BF, O’Driscoll SW (1997) Reduction of triceps muscle force after shortening of the distal humerus: a computational model. J Shoulder Elbow Surg 6:444–448PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    O’Driscoll SW, Sanchez-Sotelo J, Torchia ME (2002) Management of the smashed distal humerus. Orthop Clin North Am 33:19–33PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    O’Driscoll S, Giori N (2000) Continuous passive motion (CPM): theory and principles of clinical application. J Rehabil Res Dev 37:179–188PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ackerman G, Jupiter JB (1988) Non-union of fractures of the distal end of the humerus. J Bone Joint Surg Am 70:75–83PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wang KC, Shih HN, Hsu KY, Shih CH (1994) Intercondylar fractures of the distal humerus: routine anterior subcutaneous transposition of the ulnar nerve in a posterior operative approach. J Trauma 36:770–773PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Schemitsch EH, Tencer AF, Henley MB (1994) Biomechanical evaluation of methods of internal fixation of the distal humerus. J Orthop Trauma 8:468–475PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Jacobson SR, Glisson RR, Urbaniak JR (1997) Comparison of distal humerus fracture fixation: a biomechanical study. J South Orthop Assoc 6:241–249PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Korner J, Diederichs G, Arzdarf M et al (2004) A biomechanical evaluation of methods of distal humerus fracture fixation using locking compression plates versus conventional reconstruction plates. J Orthop Trauma 18:286–293PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shawn W. O’Driscoll
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OrthopedicsMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

Personalised recommendations