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Surgical management of intercondylar fractures of the humerus using triceps reflecting anconeus pedicle (TRAP) approach

Author(s): Pankaj Amite | Mallinath G | Malhotra Rajesh | Bhan Surya

Journal: Indian Journal of Orthopaedics
ISSN 0019-5413

Volume: 41;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 219;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: Humerus | intercondylar fracture | Triceps-reflecting anconeus pedicle approach

Background: Operative fixation of intra-articular fractures of the distal humerus requires adequate exposure. The transolecranon approach is a commonly used approach. The olecranon osteotomy has potential complications related to prominence/migration of hardware, displacement/nonunion of osteotomy and triceps weakness. Triceps-reflecting anconeus pedicle (TRAP) approach avoids the olecranon osteotomy without compromising the operative exposure. We present outcome of fixation of displaced intra-articular distal humeral fractures with the use of TRAP approach. Materials and Methods: We reviewed the functional and radiological results of 40 consecutive patients with intercondylar fractures of the humerus treated by internal fixation through TRAP approach. There were 28 males and 12 females and the average age was 32 ± 4.5 years. The right elbow was involved in 27 patients and the left elbow in 13 patients. The mechanism of injury was a fall in 20 patients, a motor-vehicle accident in 16 patients and direct trauma in four patients. Results: At a minimum follow-up of 12 months (average 18 ± 4 months) 35 (87.5%) patients had good triceps strength. The average range of motion was 118.4 ± 7 degrees (range 80 o -130 o ). The average time to union was 3.2 ± 1.6 months (range two to six months). No patient had triceps rupture, implant failure, neurovascular deficit or nonunion. Two patients needed removal of the implant because of subcutaneous prominence. Conclusions: The TRAP approach provides good visualization for fixation of intercondylar fractures of the humerus, without any noticeable untoward effect on triceps strength and postoperative rehabilitation; and one can avoid iatrogenic fracture of the olecranon and its associated complications.
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