Proximal Humerus Fractures – Diagnosis and Treatment

Fractures could be one of the worst things that could happen to an individual, and one of the most common causes of fractures is traumatic injuries. We must say that maximum trauma cases are accompanied by fractures and they could occur anywhere in the body. In this post, we are going to talk about proximal humerus fractures.

What are Proximal Humerus Fractures?

Proximal humerus fractures are the ones where the break occurs in the upper bone of the arm which is known as the humerus. Certain other complications like axillary nerve or axillary artery injury may also be seen. Proximal humerus fractures are known to be more common in elderly people.

Certain studies have shown that proximal humerus fractures account for around 5 percent of all fractures. One of the reasons why the occurrence of these fractures is more common in the elderly is due to osteoporosis. In osteoporosis, bones become weak hence, are more prone to fractures.

These fractures can be either treated non-operatively or with surgery using orthopedic devices. Siora Surgicals is one of the best Orthopedic Supply Companies offering an international quality range of orthopedic implants to many clients present in different parts of the globe.

Causes of Proximal Humerus Fractures

Fracture in the proximal humerus can occur due to low-impact trauma like a slight fall at home. This is because the elderly are more prone to this fracture and with age, their bone starts degrading slowly. Thus, even a slight fall can result in a fracture.

Proximal humerus fracture can also occur in adults and it generally happens due to high-energy trauma like motor vehicle collision.

Symptoms

  • Reduced ability of the shoulder movement
  • Swelling around shoulder
  • Pain
  • Bruising may also be seen

Diagnosis of Proximal Humerus Fractures

Physical examination is what the doctor will perform first. With this examination, he/she will be able to know the cause of symptoms and identify any other complications if there. During the physical examination, the doctor may ask the patient to move shoulders and ask certain questions related to the injury.

After this, an X-ray examination will also be indicated to identify the location of the fracture. An X-ray report should include a true anteroposterior internal rotation view, oblique view, and an axillary view. In certain cases where the condition is complicated or an X-ray doesn’t show any clear view of the fracture, a CT scan may also be suggested by the doctor.

The Treatment

The severity of the fracture will decide whether the treatment will be surgical or non-surgical. Let us have a look at the conditions for which surgery is performed and the ones that could be fixed non-operatively.

Non-operative Treatment

Non-operative treatment is indicated in the case of stable fractures where the fractured bone does not leave its position. The treatment without surgery is often done with the application of a sling to immobilize the fractured bone and allow it to heal. Non-operative treatment is also followed with early range of motion exercises to strengthen the muscles and ensure improved recovery.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is the option in case of severe fractures. Open reduction with internal fixation and closed reduction with percutaneous pinning are the surgical procedures that may be used for fracture fixation. Surgery is done using trauma implants like Intramedullary Nail, Proximal Humeral Nail, Bone Plates & Screws, or K-Wires may be used. Orthopedic implants help in holding the fractured bone fragments in the correct anatomy while allowing them to heal.

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