Does the technique of lateral cross-wiring (Dorgan's technique) reduce iatrogenic ulnar nerve injury?

Int Orthop. 2011 Mar;35(3):375-8. doi: 10.1007/s00264-010-1090-9. Epub 2010 Jul 20.


In this study we compared the results of patients with displaced supracondylar humeral fractures who had been treated with all lateral cross-wire and medio-lateral cross-wire fixation techniques. Only the 139 patients who were able to attend the final examination were included in the assessment. The patients were allocated retrospectively into two groups according to the pin configuration used. Group 1 comprised 75 patients, 60 male and 15 female, with a mean age of 7.5 years (range, 1.5-14 years). After closed reduction, fixation was achieved with crossed K-wires placed from the lateral condyle and lateral humerus towards the medial epicondyle. Care was taken so that the end of the K-wire passing from the lateral humerus did not protrude excessively at the level of the medial epicondyle. Group 2 comprised 64 patients, 54 males and ten females, with a mean age of 7.8 years (range, 2-13 years). After closed reduction, two cross-wires passed-one from medial and one from lateral. In group 1 there was no postoperative iatrogenic nerve damage whereas in group 2 iatrogenic ulnar nerve damage developed in six (9%) patients. On statistical evaluation, a significant difference was seen between the two groups. According to Flynn's criteria, there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups. In conclusion, the lateral cross-wire fixation technique may be a good choice in the treatment of paediatric supracondylar humerus fractures as it reduces the possibility of ulnar nerve damage and achieves the same level of stabilisation as medio-lateral fixation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bone Malalignment / surgery
  • Bone Wires*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / adverse effects
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods*
  • Fracture Healing
  • Humans
  • Humeral Fractures / surgery*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trauma, Nervous System / etiology
  • Trauma, Nervous System / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ulnar Nerve / injuries*
  • Ulnar Nerve / surgery