BACKGROUND: Birth fractures of the humeral diaphysis are encountered at most pediatric medical centers and pediatric orthopaedic practices. The treatment strategy of these fractures is uniformly nonoperative. However, we have not found sufficient studies in the literature demonstrating the extent to which remodeling is possible and therefore how much deformity is acceptable in the treatment of these fractures. METHODS: We reviewed the records of our institution's Orthopaedic Surgery Clinic and identified all children seen for birth fractures of the humerus from 2001 to 2005. The angulation and displacement at presentation and at follow-up were measured. RESULTS: All patients were treated nonoperatively, and most were managed by swaddling. In 9 patients with more than 4 months of radiographic follow-up, the mean initial angulation was 26 degrees in the coronal plane and 25 degrees in the sagittal plane. The mean angulation at final follow-up was 5 degrees in the coronal plane and 7 degrees in the sagittal plane. The maximum angulation at presentation was 66 degrees, which remodeled to 5 degrees at 7.3 months' follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that attempts to obtain an anatomical reduction or the use of more than the simplest immobilization methods are not necessary given the tremendous capacity for remodeling of these fractures in infants. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV.
- Birth fracture
- Humerus fracture
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine