Controversy surrounds the management of displaced three- and four-part fractures of the proximal humerus. The percutaneous Resch technique of stabilisation involves minimal soft-tissue dissection and a reduced risk of stiffness and avascular necrosis. However, it requires a second operation to remove Kirschner wires and the humeral block. We describe a modification of this technique that dispenses with the need for this second operation and relies on a sequential pattern of screw placement. We report the outcome of 32 three- or four-part fractures of the proximal humerus treated in this way at a mean follow-up of 3.8 years (2 to 8)). There were 14 men and 18 women with a mean age of 56 years (28 to 83). At final follow-up the mean Oxford shoulder scores were 38 (31 to 44) and 39 (31 to 42), and the mean Constant scores were 79 (65 to 92) and 72 (70 to 80) for three- and four-part fractures, respectively. We further analysed the results in patients aged < 60 years with high-energy fractures and those aged ≥ 60 years with osteoporotic fractures. There were no cases of nonunion or avascular necrosis.
The results were good and comparable to those previously reported for the Resch technique and other means of fixation for proximal humeral fractures. We would recommend this modification of the technique for the treatment of displaced three-part and four-part fractures in patients both younger and older than 60 years of age.
- Proximal humerus fracture
- Percutaneous fixation
- Three-part fracture
- Four-part fracture
No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.
- Received November 15, 2011.
- Accepted June 26, 2012.
- ©2012 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery