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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 108-116

Complications associated with locking plate of proximal humerus fractures

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Drexel University College of Medicine, Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Venkat Kavuri
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Drexel University College of Medicine, Hahnemann University Hospital, 245 N. 15th St. M.S. 420, Philadelphia, PA 19103
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ortho.IJOrtho_243_17

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Proximal humerus fractures constitute a significant percentage of fragility fractures. The growing use of locking plate has helped treat this problem, but at the same time has brought about complications. Past systematic reviews have documented these complications, however a large number of recent studies have been published since, reporting their own complication rates with different techniques. This study reviews the current complications associated with locking plate of proximal humerus fractures as well as methods to reduce them. A systematic review, following the PRISMA guidelines, was conducted in November 2013 and repeated in March 2015, using PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane databases, to evaluate locking plate fixation (and complications) of traumatic proximal humerus fractures. Inclusion criteria included adults (>18 years), minimum of 12-month postoperative followup, articles within the last 5 years, and studies with >10 participants. Exclusion criteria included pathologic fractures, cadaveric studies, and nonhuman subjects. Eligible studies were graded using a quality scoring system. Articles with a minimum of 7/10 score were included and assessed regarding their level of evidence per the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine guidelines. The initial query identified 51,206 articles from multiple databases. These records were thoroughly screened and resulted in 57 articles, consisting of seven Level 1, three Level 2, 10 Level 3, and 37 Level 4 studies, totaling 3422 proximal humerus fractures treated with locking plates. Intraarticular screw penetration was the most reported complication (9.5%), followed by varus collapse (6.8%), subacromial impingement (5.0%), avascular necrosis (4.6%), adhesive capsulitis (4.0%), nonunion (1.5%), and deep infection (1.4%). Reoperation occurred at a rate of 13.8%. Collapse at the fracture site contributed to a majority of the implant-related complications, which in turn were the main reasons for reoperation. The authors of these studies discussed different techniques that could be used to address these issues. Expanding use of locking plate in the proximal humerus fractures leads to improvements and advancements in surgical technique. Further research is necessary to outline indications to decrease complications, further.

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