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Locking Plates versus Locking Intramedullary Nails Fixation of Proximal Humeral Fractures Involving the Humeral Shaft: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Hui Song, Tao He, Hui-Min Y. Guo, Zhan-Yu Li, Min Wei, Chao Zhang, Yu-Qi Dong

Department of Orthopedics, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e922598

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.922598

Available online: 2020-06-12

Published: 2020-08-09

BACKGROUND: For proximal humeral fractures (PHFs), locking intramedullary nails and locking plates have been widely used. However, few reports have been published on the therapy of complex PHFs accompanying humeral shaft fractures. Therefore, we performed this research to analyze the effectiveness of locking intramedullary nails and locking plates in the management of proximal humeral fractures involving the humeral shaft.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 40 cases diagnosed with proximal humeral fractures involving the humeral shaft fixed with either locking intramedullary nails or locking plates with at least of 2 years’ follow-up. Clinical data were obtained from the medical records. Follow-up data included the Constant-Murley score, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score (ASES), visual analog scale score (VAS), and the relative strength of the supraspinatus and deltoid muscles.
RESULTS: In total, 19 locking plate patients and 21 locking intramedullary nail patients were analyzed. The average follow-up period was 35 months in the locking plate group and 34 months in the locking intramedullary nail group. There were obvious differences in the intraoperative blood loss, time of operation, and the length of operative incision between the 2 groups (p<0.05). There were no significant differences between the groups in Constant-Murley score, ASES, VAS, or the relative strength of supraspinatus and deltoid muscles.
CONCLUSIONS: For PHFs involving the humeral shaft, both locking plates and locking intramedullary nails can achieve satisfactory functional results in the long-term follow-up assessment. The locking intramedullary nail group was superior with regards to intraoperative blood loss, time of operation, and length of incision.

Keywords: humeral fractures, Osteoporosis, Retrospective Studies, Shoulder Fractures