Author(s): Kraus R, Wessel L
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The treatment of fractures in children and adolescents must be based on an adequate knowledge of the physiology of the growing skeleton. Treatment failures usually do not result from technical deficiencies, but rather from a misunderstanding of the special considerations applying to the treatment of fractures in this age group. METHODS: We selectively reviewed recent publications on the main types of long bone fracture occurring in the period of skeletal development. RESULTS: Alleviating pain is the first step in fracture management, and due attention must be paid to any evidence of child abuse. The goals of treatment are to bring about healing of the fracture and to preserve the function of the wounded limb. The growth that has yet to take place over the remaining period of skeletal development also has to be considered. Predicting the growth pattern of fractured bones is a basic task of the pediatric traumatologist. During the period of skeletal development, conservative and surgical treatments are used in complementary fashion. Particular expertise is needed to deal with fractures around the elbow, especially supracondylar humeral fractures, displaced fractures of the radial condyle of the humerus, radial neck fractures, and radial head dislocations (Monteggia lesions). These problems account for a large fraction of the avoidable cases of faulty fracture healing leading to functional impairment in children and adolescents. CONCLUSION: The main requirements for the proper treatment of fractures in children and adolescents are the immediate alleviation of pain and the provision of effective treatment (either in the hospital or on an outpatient basis) to ensure the best possible outcome, while the associated costs and effort is kept to a minimum. Further important goals are a rapid recovery of mobility and the avoidance of late complications, such as restriction of the range of motion or growth disorders of the fractured bone. To achieve these goals, the treating physician should have the necessary expertise in all of the applicable conservative and surgical treatment methods and should be able to apply them for the proper indications.
This article was published in Dtsch Arztebl Int
and referenced in Journal of Trauma & Treatment