Internal Fixation of Distal Humerus Fractures

What Is Internal Fixation of Distal Humerus Fractures?

Internal Fixation of Distal Humerus Fractures: Restoring Elbow Function

The distal humerus, forming the upper part of the elbow, is susceptible to fractures that affect elbow motion. This type of fracture, known as a distal humerus fracture, requires specialized care. At City Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, we offer comprehensive solutions to address these injuries and facilitate a swift return to normal function.

Treatment Options for Distal Humerus Fractures

The treatment approach for distal humerus fractures depends on their severity:

  1. Mild Fractures: These fractures may be managed with a sling or splint to support proper healing.
  2. Severe Fractures: Surgery may be necessary to realign and stabilize the fractured bones. This procedure, known as internal fixation, employs screws, plates, wires, rods, and pins to secure the bone fragments and stimulate healing.

The Internal Fixation Procedure

During internal fixation, the patient receives general anesthesia for comfort. Our skilled surgeons make a careful incision at the back of the elbow. The fractured bone is precisely repositioned using pins, wires, screws, sutures, or a combination of these tools. The incision is then meticulously closed with sutures. A splint may be applied to alleviate pressure.

Risks and Considerations

While internal fixation is a highly effective treatment, it carries certain risks, such as:

  1. Infection
  2. Anesthesia Reaction
  3. Nerve and Blood Vessel Damage
  4. Nonunion of Bones
  5. Hardware Complications: Plates, screws, or wires may shift or break.

Temporary numbness or weakness is also possible post-surgery, which typically resolves over a few weeks or months.

Recovery Process

Following the procedure, the elbow may remain splinted or casted for approximately two weeks. Pain and inflammation can be managed with prescribed medication. Lifting restrictions for the injured arm may be imposed for 6 to 12 weeks. Our specialized physical therapy programs are designed to restore muscle strength, enhance range of motion, and improve flexibility. Complete recovery from internal fixation for a distal humerus fracture typically spans up to 6 months.

At City Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, our dedicated team is committed to providing exceptional care and helping you regain optimal elbow function after a distal humerus fracture.

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