Research Article| Volume 41, ISSUE 12, P1277-1283, December 2010

Minimal invasive long PHILOS®-plate osteosynthesis in metadiaphyseal fractures of the proximal humerus


      Minimal invasive plate osteosynthesis (MIPO) not only meets the criteria of a “biological” osteosynthesis by minimising invasivity as well as iatrogenic soft tissue damage, but can also provide adequate stability for fracture healing and early functional aftertreatment. Up to date, only few publications report on MIPO of humeral shaft fractures mainly using the anterolateral deltopectoral approach for proximal plate insertion. Objective of the present study was to assess the feasibility and clinical outcome of MIPO for metadiaphyseal fractures of the proximal humerus through a lateral approach using angular stable long PHILOS®-plates.
      We retrospectively evaluated 29 patients (mean age 77 years, range 48–95 years) with displaced metadiaphyseal fractures of the proximal humerus treated with MIPO technique. For the first time, an angular stable long PHILOS®-plate through a lateral deltoid-split approach proximally and a brachialis/brachioradialis intermuscular approach with exposure of the radial nerve distally, were used.
      There were no infections and no iatrogenic injuries to the axillary and radial nerve. One patient showed subacromial impingement and one patient had to be reoperated for redislocation of the distal fragment with screw breakage, which was most likely due to incorrect screw placement. This patient was successfully operated using the same method and implant. Besides one patient who refused further follow-up, 28 patients could be followed up to a mean of 8 months (range 3–12 months) each with an entirely healed fracture. Furthermore, patient's quality of life was documented using the SF-36 questionnaire. Comparison with published United States normative data showed no significant deficits in the physical as well as in the mental domains 8 months after MIPO.
      Minimal invasive long PHILOS®-plate osteosynthesis using a combined lateral deltoid-split and brachialis/brachioradialis intermuscular approach proved to be a safe procedure for the treatment of metadiaphyseal fractures of the proximal humerus with low morbidity and full restoration of quality of life in these elderly patients.


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