A supracondylar fracture is defined as damage to the upper arm bone or humerus. This is a common form of injury among children. It is generally brought about by a fall on an extended elbow or direct strike to the joint.
Surgical intervention is not always necessary. Oftentimes, a hard cast is adequate to promote healing.
What are the indications?
The typical signs of this type of fracture include:
- Sudden, severe forearm and elbow pain
- Popping or snap-like sensation at the time of injury
- Swelling around the joint
- Hand numbness
- Inability to move or straighten the arm
Management of a supracondylar fracture
If a child is suspected with a supracondylar fracture, a doctor must be seen right away or bring the child to the emergency department as soon as possible.
Surgery is not needed for a mild case and if there are no complications. A splint or cast can be utilized to immobilize the joint and allow it to naturally heal. Oftentimes, a splint is utilized initially to allow the swelling to subside and then followed by a full cast.
In some cases, it is needed to restore the bone into position before a splint or cast is applied. In such instances, the child is given an anesthesia or sedation.
If the fracture is severe, it requires surgical intervention such as:
- Closed reduction with percutaneous pinning
- Open reduction with internal fixation
What is the outlook?
A supracondylar fracture is a common injury during childhood. If treated promptly either with immobilization using a cast or surgery, full recovery can be achieved.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on a supracondylar fracture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs of injury and how it is treated, register for a first aid and CPR course with Victoria First Aid.