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Obesity Complicates Elbow Fractures in Children

Supracondylar humeral fractures more likely to be complex, have greater risk of post-op complications

Obesity Complicates Elbow Fractures in Children

THURSDAY, Feb. 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity is associated with more complex supracondylar humeral fractures in children, as well as with a greater risk of postoperative complications, according to research published in the Feb. 5 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Mark A. Seeley, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues reviewed records from 354 children, aged 2 to 11 years, who had received surgical treatment for extension-type supracondylar humeral fractures. The effects of obesity on fracture complexity and associated injuries were assessed.

The researchers found that obese children (body mass index above the 95th percentile) were more likely to have complex fractures (odds ratio [OR], 9.19; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 4.25 to 19.92; P < 0.001), preoperative nerve palsies (OR, 2.69; 95 percent CI, 1.15 to 6.29; P = 0.02), postoperative nerve palsies (OR, 7.69; 95 percent CI, 2.66 to 22.31; P < 0.001), and postoperative complications (OR, 4.03; 95 percent CI, 1.72 to 9.46; P < 0.001). In addition, obese children, compared with normal-weight children, were more likely to sustain complex upper extremity fractures from falling onto an outstretched hand (OR, 13.00; 95 percent CI, 3.44 to 49.19; P < 0.001).

"To our knowledge, this study is the first to assess the implications of obesity on supracondylar humeral fracture complexity and associated injuries and it validates public health efforts in combating childhood obesity," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biomedical industry.

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