Salter-Harris fractures are common and important childhood epiphyseal plate fractures as they may cause premature closure resulting in limb shortening and abnormal growth.
They represent ~35% of all skeletal injuries in children.
They typically occur in the 10-15 year old child.
The growth plate has five distinctive zones. Fractures tend to propagate along the weakest zone, which is the spongiosum. Fortunately this is not a region of active growth, and therefore fractures through this area have a good prognosis. When the fracture passes towards the epiphysis, it passes through the zones of proliferation and reserve which result in possible premature closure of the growth plate at the fracture site.
Conveniently the Salter-Harris types can be remembered by the mnemonic SALTR.
- type I
- type II
- type III
- type IV
- ruined or rammed
- uncommon <1%
- crushing type injury does not displace the growth plate but damages it by direct compression
- worst prognosis
There are a few other rare types which you should probably never include in a report as almost no one will know what you are talking about. Nonetheless they are:
- type VI: injury to the perichondral structures
- type VII: isolated injury to the epiphyseal plate
- type VIII: isolated injury to the metaphysis, with a potential injury related to endochondral ossification
- type IX: injury to the periosteum that may interfere with membranous growth
describing a fracture
- fracture types
- fracture location
- diaphyseal fracture
- metaphyseal fracture
- epiphyseal fracture
- fracture displacement
- fracture angulation
- fracture translocation
- fracture rotation
- 1. Weissleder R, Wittenberg J, Harisinghani MG. Primer of diagnostic imaging. Mosby Inc. (2003) ISBN:0323023282. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 2. Wenger DR, Pring ME, Rang M. Rang's Children's Fractures, 3e. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2005) ISBN:0781752868. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon