Gartland type 3 supracondylar fractures of the humerus in children have been associated with serious complications and believed to benefit from an emergency treatment. However, several unavoidable factors sometimes lead to surgical delays even in tertiary hospital. The present study was undertaken to assess the functional and radiological outcome with respect to the timing of intervention post injury.
Methods: In the observational study, paediatric patients with type 3 supracondylar humerus fractures were divided in 2 groups based on the timing of treatment, within 12 hours or after 12 hours of injury. The data was collected in a retrospective and prospective manner with minimum 9 months of follow-up and the study variables such as age, type of displacement, requirement of open reduction, period of immobilization, time for fracture union, change in range of motion and carrying angle and incidence of complication was noted.
Results: The baseline variables was comparable in both the groups. There was no significant need of an open reduction in patients in both the groups. Following limb immobilization for 3-4 weeks after closed reduction, all patients had successful fracture union. There was no significant difference in change in the carrying angle and range of movement in both the groups. The incidence of complications was comparable in both the groups.
Conclusion: We recommend that the surgery can be safely postponed to next available operation theatre in non-complicated cases of severe supracondylar fracture humerus to facilitate finest pre-operative care and an optimal care surgery.