Anterior Approach for Pediatric Supracondylar Humerus Fractures: A Systematic Review

Rev Esp Cir Ortop Traumatol. 2024 Jun 7:S1888-4415(24)00090-0. doi: 10.1016/j.recot.2024.06.002. Online ahead of print.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Background and purpose: Open reduction is rarely performed in pediatric supracondylar humerus fractures. However, clear evidence is lacking regarding the optimal open approach to achieve satisfactory results. The anterior approach provides direct visualization of the fracture and excellent exposure to neurovascular structures, although its utilization is less common. The objective of this study was to review the indications, outcomes, and complications associated with the anterior approach for open reduction of these fractures.

Methods: Our protocol was registered at PROSPERO: CRD42023446923. MEDLINE/PubMed, Embase, Web of Science,, and Cochrane Library were searched from database inception to search date (December 2023) and screened in duplicate for relevant studies. Data were collected regarding patient demographics, indications for open reduction, Flynn's functional and cosmetic outcomes, and complications. Study quality was assessed using the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies Criteria.

Results: A total of 19 studies involving 483 patients were included. One study was classified as Level 2 evidence, ten as Level 3, and eight as Level 4. The mean MINORS score was 13.05 ± 3.47. The primary indication for open reduction was failed closed reduction, observed in 46% of patients. 97.7% and 98.6% of patients achieved Flynn's functional and cosmetic satisfactory results, respectively. The postsurgical neurovascular injury rate was 1.4%. One patient required reintervention.

Conclusion: The anterior approach is safe and effective for managing pediatric supracondylar humerus fractures requiring open reduction.

Level of evidence: Systematic review of Level 2-4 evidence studies.

Keywords: anterior approach; children; pediatric; supracondylar humerus fracture; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review