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Journal Article


Li Y, James C, Byl N, Sessel J, Caird MS, Farley FA, Robbins C. J. Pediatr. Orthop. 2019; ePub(ePub): ePub.


Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI.


(Copyright © 2019, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins)






BACKGROUND: Current estimates suggest that one third of children and adolescents are overweight and 1 in 5 are obese. Obese children are at increased risk of sustaining more complex fractures, failing nonoperative treatment, and experiencing more complications during treatment. The purpose of this study was to compare forearm fracture characteristics, treatment, and complications in grouped overweight and obese [OW+OB; body mass index-for-age percentile (BMI%) ≥85] pediatric patients compared with normal-weight (NW; BMI%≤84) patients.

METHODS: This was a retrospective comparative study of patients aged 2 to 17 years old who presented with a forearm fracture resulting from low-energy trauma between January 2010 and September 2017. Patients with incomplete height and weight data; an underlying condition that predisposes to fractures or altered fracture healing; and torus, greenstick, pathologic, and high-energy fractures were excluded. Demographics, fracture characteristics, treatment, and complications were recorded. Descriptive and inferential analyses were conducted.

RESULTS: A total of 565 patients (403 NW, 162 OW+OB) met the inclusion criteria. NW children sustained open fractures nearly twice as frequently as the OW+OB children but this was not statistically significant (9.7% vs. 4.9%; P=0.065). Subanalysis showed that NW children were 4.1 times more likely to sustain an open fracture compared with obese (BMI%≥95) children (9.7% vs. 2.4%; P=0.029). A significant relationship was found between BMI% and location of the fracture, the bones involved, and fracture type. The OW+OB children sustained more distal forearm fractures than midshaft and proximal forearm fractures. Isolated radial shaft fractures were more common in the OW+OB group, whereas isolated ulnar shaft fractures were more common in the NW group. There was no difference in associated neurovascular injury, initial nonoperative versus operative management, failure of nonoperative treatment, and treatment complications.

CONCLUSIONS: OW+OB children have different forearm fracture characteristics compared with their NW peers. The thick soft tissue envelope in obese children may be protective against an open forearm fracture. In contrast to previous studies, obesity was not associated with failure of nonoperative treatment or a higher rate of complications. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III-prognostic.

Language: en


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