The Open Orthopaedics Journal

ISSN: ― Volume ,

Complications and Predictors of Need for Return to the Operating Room in the Treatment of Supracondylar Humerus Fractures in Children

Matthew E Oetgen*, Gudrun E Mirick, Lara Atwater , John F Lovejoy
Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA


Supracondylar humerus fractures are common pediatric injuries. Little is known about the risk factors for repeat operative procedures. A retrospective chart review of 709 patients treated for a displaced supracondylar humerus fracture was performed to identify risk factors for return to the operating room during the initial post-operative period. Deviations of routine fracture care were recorded and complication rates were compared between Gartland type 2 and 3 fractures using logistic regression. Type 3 fractures were found to have a higher complication rate, and, specifically, more peri-operative nerve palsies, more likely to need to return to the operating room for hardware removal, to lose fracture reduction, and require a return to the operating room for any reason. Five risk factors which may require returning to the operating room were identified: younger patient age, left sided fractures, type 3 fractures, peri-operative nerve palsy, and post-operative infection. In conclusion, Gartland type 3 supracondylar humerus fractures are associated with more complications then type 2 fractures. Risk factors for the need to return to the operating room in the post-operative period include: younger patient age, left sided fractures, type 3 fractures, peri-operative nerve palsy, and post-operative infection. Patients with these risk factors should be considered at risk for return to the OR and fracture fixation and follow up protocols should be adjusted for this risk.

Level of Evidence :

Prognostic Study, Level II.

Keywords: Complications, Gartland classification, pediatric, pediatric elbow fracture, supracondylar humerus fracture.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2015
Volume: 9
First Page: 139
Last Page: 142
Publisher Id: TOORTHJ-9-139
DOI: 10.2174/1874325001509010139

Article History:

Received Date: 18/12/2014
Revision Received Date: 2/4/2015
Acceptance Date: 12/4/2015
Electronic publication date: 15/5/2015
Collection year: 2015

© Oetgen et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA; Tel: 202-476-4152; Fax: 202-476-4163; E-mail:

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