The surgical management of pediatric fractures of the upper extremity

Instr Course Lect. 2003:52:635-45.


The vast majority of pediatric fractures of the upper extremity can and should be treated with closed reduction, immobilization, and close follow-up. However, there is an ongoing debate in the orthopaedic community regarding the exact role of surgical management in the treatment of pediatric fractures. In the past 2 decades, surgical management of certain fractures (e.g., percutaneous pinning of displaced supracondylar fractures) has provided better results than closed management. Surgical management is clearly indicated for certain injuries, such as those requiring anatomic realignment of the physis or articular surface. Increasingly, however, surgical management is being used to maintain optimal alignment or to allow early motion. In many such cases, both nonsurgical and surgical methods have yielded good results and have vocal advocates. Certain technical advances, such as flexible intramedullary fixation and bioreabsorbable implants, have further increased enthusiasm for surgical management of pediatric fractures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Arm Injuries / complications
  • Arm Injuries / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Elbow Injuries
  • Elbow Joint / surgery
  • Forearm Injuries / surgery
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods*
  • Fractures, Bone / complications
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Wrist Injuries / surgery