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Treatment for fractures of a lateral condyle of the humeus in a child

Three Part Question

in [a child aged 3-12] with [a fractured lateral condyle of the humerus] is [surgical intervention associated with a better oucome than immobilisation]

Clinical Scenario

an eight year old child presents to the emergency department with signs of a fracture. Radiology shows a fracture of the lateral condyle of the humerus.

Search Strategy

Medline 1966-June 2005
CINAHL 1982-June 2005
the cocrane library, issue 2, 2005

Search Outcome

56 citations of which 1 high quality retrospective clinical trial was found

Relevant Paper(s)

Author, date and country Patient group Study type (level of evidence) Outcomes Key results Study Weaknesses
Aug 2004
97 children under the age of 12retrospective clinical trialbest mode of treatmentsurgery leads to better outcome than immobilisationretrospective in nature, therefore treatment protocols varied according to physican preference at two different institutions. Patients not randomly selected and nor was treatment given. Some patients discontinued follow up.
best method of surgery3 K-wires associated with better outcome than the use of 2 K-wires
mobility after treatmentdecreased loss of flexion with surgery. But decreased loss of extension with immobilisation


the treatment of a lateral condle of the humerus fracture is associated with complications and loss of function. surgical management has been shown to lead to less complications after treatment and with decreased loss of flexion after treatment. immobilisation is associated with decreased loss of extension after treatment.

Clinical Bottom Line

surgical management is asasociated with better outcome than immobilsation


  1. Launay Lateral condyle fractures in children: a comparison of two approaches to treatment