Treatment of diaphyseal fractures of the humerus using a functional brace

J Orthop Trauma. 2006 Oct;20(9):597-601. doi: 10.1097/


Objective: To determine humeral diaphyseal fractures at risk for nonunion with functional brace treatment.

Design: Retrospective case series.

Setting: A single surgeon's practice.

Patients: Forty-nine of 52 consecutive patients treated nonoperatively for an isolated diaphyseal fracture of the humerus during a 6-year period were followed until either union and full or near-full restoration of shoulder and elbow motion, or until 6 months had passed, or until a reconstructive surgery was performed (average follow-up 14 months; range 2 to 50 months).

Intervention: Functional fracture brace.

Main outcome measurements: Radiographic and clinical union.

Results: Union was achieved in 44 of 49 patients (90%) with no more than 15-degree loss of shoulder or elbow motion in any patient. Four of 14 proximal-third fractures (29%), one of 22 middle-third fractures (4%), and none of the 13 distal-third fractures failed to heal.

Conclusions: Proximal-third long oblique fractures may be at greater than average risk for nonunion after functional fracture bracing.

Level of evidence: Level IV (case series).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Braces* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fractures, Ununited / etiology
  • Humans
  • Humeral Fractures / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors