Epidemiology of proximal humerus fractures managed in a trauma center

Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2012 Oct;98(6):715-9. doi: 10.1016/j.otsr.2012.05.013. Epub 2012 Sep 19.


Proximal humerus fractures (PHF) are osteoporotic fractures that affect women over 70 years of age. Like fractures of the femoral neck they have become a public health concern. As the population ages there is an increase in the number of people in poor general condition with an increased risk of falls on fragile bones. The incidence of these fractures has increased by 15% per year. All patients managed for PHF in our center in the past year were included in this prospective study (prospective cohort study; level 2). Three hundred and twenty-five patients were included with 329 fractures. There was a ratio of two women to one man. At the final follow-up 50 patients had died (15%) and 25 patients were lost to follow-up. The mean age was 70 years old. There were two types of risk factors. The first was fragile bones, and the second was patient specific risk of falls. The severity of the fracture increased with the age of the population. In the study by Charles S. Neer in 1970, 85% of PHF were not or were only slightly displaced, while this category percentage was only 42% in our study. Hospitalization was necessary in 43% of the cases in our study. Surgical management was necessary in 21%. This lack of relationship between the percentage of displaced fractures (58%) and the percentage of surgically treated fractures is a sign of the difficulties of managing this population, which is usually in poor general condition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Orthopedic Procedures / methods*
  • Shoulder Fractures / epidemiology*
  • Shoulder Fractures / therapy*
  • Trauma Centers / statistics & numerical data*