Operative Versus Non-operative Treatment of Medial Epicondyle Fractures in Pediatric Athletes: A Systematic Review


Treatment of medial epicondyle fractures is controversial in pediatric orthopaedics with a recent trend towards operative fixation in overhead athletes. We performed a systematic review to compare outcomes in operative and non-operatively overhead athletes. A systematic review of the literature was performed. Articles investing pediatric athletes with medial epicondyle fractures treated operatively and non-operatively that reported functional and radiographic outcomes were compiled. We identified 6 studies with a total of 99 patients (52 treated operatively and 47 treated non-operatively). We found a significantly higher union rate with operative treatment (100%) compared to non-operative treatment (76%, p = 0.0025), with equivalent return to sport time and rate. Non-operative treatment had a lower complication and repeat surgery rates (p = 0.009). This study demonstrates lower complication rates and equivalent functional outcomes between operative and non-operatively treated medial epicondyle fractures in athletes. Non-operative treatment is a valid option in these patients. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 32(1):009–013, 2023)

Key words: trauma, pediatric elbow, athletes, medial epicondyle

SKU: JSOA-2023-32-1-1 Categories: , Tags: , , ,

Joshua C. Tadlock, MD; Michael D. Eckhoff, MD; Reuben A. Macias, MD; Tyler C. Nicholson, MD; Hunter R. Graver MD; and EStephan Garcia, MD