Management of humeral shaft fractures

Eben A. Carroll, Mark Schweppe, Maxwell Langfitt, Anna N. Miller, Jason J. Halvorson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Humeral shaft fractures account for approximately 3% of all fractures. Nonsurgical management of humeral shaft fractures with functional bracing gained popularity in the 1970s, and this method is arguably the standard of care for these fractures. Still, surgical management is indicated in certain situations, including polytraumatic injuries, open fractures, vascular injury, ipsilateral articular fractures, floating elbow injuries, and fractures that fail nonsurgical management. Surgical options include external fixation, open reduction and internal fixation, minimally invasive percutaneous osteosynthesis, and antegrade or retrograde intramedullary nailing. Each of these techniques has advantages and disadvantages, and the rate of fracture union may vary based on the technique used. A relatively high incidence of radial nerve injury has been associated with surgical management of humeral shaft fractures. However, good surgical outcomes can be achieved with proper patient selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-433
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012


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