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Dissolution of the capitellum after nondisplaced supracondylar fracture of the humerus in a child: a case report of transient osteochondrosis

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Supracondylar fractures of the humerus are the most common type of elbow fractures in children. Nonunion of the lateral condyle, cubitus varus, cubitus valgus, fishtail deformity, or growth disorders, including premature physeal arrest or even avascular necrosis, are uncommon but important complications. However, transient osteochondrosis of the capitellum after a supracondylar fracture has been reported in only two cases in the literature. We report our experience of transient osteochondrosis of the capitellum in a 5-year-old boy after conservative treatment with cast immobilization for a nondisplaced supracondylar fracture of the distal humerus with 8 years of follow-up. Serial radiography of both the injured and the contralateral elbows were performed, which enabled monitoring of the evolution of the transient osteochondrosis. No specific treatment was provided because there was no evidence of acute complication or of a progressing deformity. The patient had gained full range of motion of the elbow without pain by 6 weeks of follow-up. At 5 years after the fracture, the ossification center of the capitellum was restored to its normal size and shape. There was no evidence of growth disturbances in this case. This case report is an uncommon case of transient osteochondrosis of the capitellum in the distal humerus after conservative treatment for nondisplaced supracondylar fractures in children. The evolution of this entity is good and it is managed by conservative treatment.

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Keywords: capitellum; children; humerus; nondisplaced supracondylar fracture; osteochondrosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery 2: Paediatrics, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario De Albacete, Albacete, Spain

Publication date: May 1, 2015

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