Long-Term Outcomes of Operatively Treated Medial Epicondyle Fractures in Pediatric and Adolescent Patients

Ronak M. Patel, Yash Tarkunde, Lindley B. Wall, Gregory Schimizzi, Charles A. Goldfarb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Medial epicondyle fractures are among the most common pediatric elbow injuries. The management of these fractures continues to be debated. To better understand patient results with operative fixation, we reviewed the outcomes of operatively treated medial epicondyle fractures. Methods: A retrospective review was performed to identify all patients less than 18 years of age at the time of injury who were treated surgically for medial epicondyle fractures. Outcomes were assessed based on the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Upper Extremity and Pain Interference domains, Visual Analog Scale for pain, subjective range of motion, ulnar nerve function, and requirement for secondary surgery. Results: We identified a cohort of 95 patients treated for a medial epicondyle fracture with open reduction and screw fixation. Of these, 39 patients with a mean age of 12.2 years (SD, 2.2 years; range, 7.6–16.0 years) at surgery were assessed for an average follow-up of 6.3 years (SD, 3.2 years; range, 2.2–13.9 years). Outcome measures and pain scores were excellent. The mean PROMIS Upper Extremity score was 56.9, the mean Pain Interference score was 38.5, and the mean Visual Analog Scale score was 0.4.Sixteen patients (41%) required secondary surgery for symptomatic hardware removal. Seven patients (18%) developed sensory complaints and 2 (5%) developed motor complaints consistent with ulnar nerve irritability. Three patients (8%) reported dissatisfaction with elbow range of motion. Patients who required secondary surgeries had higher (worse) PROMIS Pain Interference scores. Conclusions: At an average of 6.3 years after surgery, the clinical outcomes for medial epicondyle fracture were excellent. While operative treatment for medial epicondyle fractures in children leads to excellent clinical outcomes, patients and surgeons should be aware of high rates of hardware removal. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-128
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery Global Online
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • Elbow
  • Fracture
  • Medial epicondyle
  • Pediatric
  • Trauma

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