Author(s): Dijkstra S, Stapert J, Boxma H, Wiggers T
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Abstract In a retrospective study 37 patients were surgically treated for 38 fractures (27 actual and 11 impending) caused by metastatic lesions of the humerus shaft. A comparison between plate osteosynthesis with bone cement (20 cases) and intramedullary nailing (18 cases) was made. There was no mortality related to the surgical procedure. The patients' survival rate was 61\% after 3 months and 44\% after 6 months; six were alive after 1 year. Overall, a subjective and objective relief of pain was achieved in 92\% and 79\%, respectively. Restoration of arm function was improved in 95\%. The operative course was complicated in six patients after plate osteosynthesis (three local and three systemic complications) and in four patients after intramedullary nailing (one local and three systemic complications). Fixation failed in four patients, instability developed twice after intramedullary fixation without bipolar static locking. No significant difference in survival rate, pain relief, restoration of function and complications were associated with methods of treatment, or with operation of actual or impending pathological fractures. Despite the poor life expectancy our results indicate that intramedullary nailing with bipolar static locking and post-operative irradiation or plate osteosynthesis with bone cement for treatment of pathological (impending) fractures of the humerus shaft are safe ways to restore arm function and improve quality of life.
This article was published in Eur J Surg Oncol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Case Reports