26.02.2018 | Original Article
Medial humeral condyle fracture in childhood: a rare but often overlooked injury
F. F. Fernandez, S. Vatlach, T. Wirth, O. Eberhardt
European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
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The medial condyle fracture of the humerus is—in comparison to the lateral condyle fracture—a very rare Salter-Harrison IV-fracture of the elbow. In this prospective study 14 children were included and reviewed. One child had minimal displacement fracture type I, one child had type II, and 12 children had type III-fractures. One patient was treated conservatively by an upper arm cast; thirteen were surgically treated using open reduction and osteosynthetical treatment. Postoperatively the elbow was immobilized in 90° flexion and neutral position in a long-arm cast for 4–6 weeks. In 11 children the diagnosis was made immediately after trauma, in 3 children the fracture was overlooked initially. Medial condyle fractures may be difficult to diagnose in children younger than 6 years and the lesion may be mistaken for a simple avulsion of the medial epicondyle or even missed. The C-sign is a hint for a medial condyle fracture. The development of nonunion happens in consequence of failure to recognize the fractures. Results after an average follow-up of 36 months showed that children who were diagnosed immediately and received operative stabilization had very good functional and aesthetical results. Three children with delayed diagnosis of the fracture had open surgery with reposition and osteosynthetical fixation. In two of the overlooked cases a slight contracture and angular misalignment persisted. If in this injury the diagnosis is made without delay, an appropriate therapy is implemented and radiographical controls are performed until consolidation, good results can be expected. The main risk in medial condyle fractures of the humerus is to overlook them. This can lead to the development of a nonunion with joint malformations.