Authors of section

Authors

Martin Jaeger, Frankie Leung, Wilson Li

Executive Editors

Peter Trafton

Open all credits

4-Part, marked displacement, intact articular, valgus malalignment

In these fractures both tuberosities are displaced. The periosteum, especially the medial hinge, is quite often ruptured. The fracture is typically unstable. Due to the displacement and instability an operative treatment is recommended.

This group of 4-part fractures is characterized by a marked displacement of the fragments and disruption of the periosteal sleeve. They are highly unstable. Due to the disrupted periosteal sleeve, especially on the medial side, the blood supply of the humeral head is severely affected. Prognostic factors of an ischemic humeral head are a) a fracture line located in the anatomic neck, b) a ruptured medial soft-tissue hinge, and c) a short posteromedial distal metaphyseal extension beyond the humeral head (less than 8 mm). Although these fractures do not necessarily pass through the articular surface, they are termed “articular fractures”; the articular surface is detached from both tuberosities and/or fractured itself. 4-part fractures according to Codman and Neer separate the proximal humeral epiphysis from both tuberosities and the metaphysis.

4-Part fracture with intact articular surface and valgus malalignment

X-rays by courtesy of B Ockert, LMU Munich, Germany.

4-Part fracture with intact articular surface and valgus malalignment