Surgical fixation of extra-articular distal humerus fractures with a posterolateral plate through a triceps-reflecting technique

John A. Scolaro, Pramod Voleti, Amun Makani, Surena Namdari, Amer Mirza, Samir Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Background: Surgical management of extra-articular distal humerus fractures results in predictable fracture alignment. Open reduction and internal fixation also decrease the soft tissue complications and frequent follow-up required with functional bracing. A triceps-reflecting posterior approach provides excellent exposure to the humerus and minimizes trauma to the triceps. An anatomically precontoured plate on the posterolateral surface of the humerus provides stable fixation of these injuries and is placed directly through the interval developed by the triceps-reflecting approach. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the trauma databases at 2 level I academic trauma institutions during a 5-year period for all patients with an extra-articular distal humerus fracture treated with a triceps-reflecting approach and an anatomically precontoured posterolateral distal humerus plate. Patient and fracture characteristics were recorded, as were QuickDASH functional scores and visual analog scale scores for pain, function, and quality of life. Results: Forty patients were eligible for our study. Average follow-up was 88weeks. Thirty-eight (95%) patients went on to union. Seven (20%) patients required a secondary procedure. The average QuickDASH score was 17.5 (range, 2.6-56.8). The average visual analog scale scores were 1.9 (range, 0-7) for pain, 2.3 (range, 0-8) for function, and 1.6 (range, 0-5) for quality of life. Thirty-five (87.5%) patients reported satisfaction with the outcome of their surgery. Discussion: Surgical fixation of extra-articular distal humerus fractures through a triceps-reflecting approach with an anatomically precontoured posterolateral distal humerus plate results in predictable osseous union and overall excellent functional results for patients with this injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-257
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2014
Externally publishedYes



  • Distal humerus
  • Extra-articular
  • Humeral fracture
  • Posterolateral plate
  • Triceps reflecting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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