Absent distal humeral shaft post trauma

Case contributed by Dr John Li


21M motor vehicle accident. Front seat passenger, was holding grab handle. Car vs tree. Impact on passenger side. Examination: open wound, neuro-vascularly intact.

Patient Data

Age: 20 years
Gender: Male

Left Gustillo 3b mid shaft humeral fracture with 12cm distal bone loss.

Extensive soft tissue gas and irregularity in the mid and distal upper arm.  Fracture of the mid shaft of the humerus with absent distal humeral shaft.  Fracture dislocation of the elbow joint with displaced humeral fragments.  No evidence of fracture within the proximal radius or ulna.

Case Discussion

The ambulance service found a 12 cm fragment of humerus in a tree. The patient went to theater for external fixation and multiple wound wash outs. Despite the proximity of the radial nerve to the humeral shaft, he still had all sensation and motor function in his hand and is planned for reconstruction.

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Case information

rID: 62931
Published: 6th Sep 2018
Last edited: 14th Aug 2020
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included
Institution: Gold Coast University Hospital

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