Eur J Pediatr Surg 2010; 20(6): 395-398
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1262843
Original Article

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Unstable Diametaphyseal Forearm Fractures: Transepiphyseal Intramedullary Kirschner-Wire Fixation as a Treatment Option in Children

J. Lieber1 , E. Schmid2 , P. P. Schmittenbecher3
  • 1University Children's Hospital, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Tübingen, Germany
  • 2St Hedwigs Hospital, Clinical Center Barmherzige Brüder, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Regensburg, Germany
  • 3Municipal Hospital, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Karlsruhe, Germany
Weitere Informationen


received May 25, 2010

accepted after revision June 22, 2010

11. Oktober 2010 (online)


Background: In unstable metaphyseal and diaphyseal forearm fractures the treatment of choice is percutaneous Kirschner wire (K-wire) fixation or elastic stable intramedullary nailing (ESIN), respectively. The optimal treatment for the diametaphyseal transition zone is still a matter of debate.

Methods: The diametaphyseal transition zone was defined as the square over the “physis of distal radius and ulna” minus the square of “physis of distal radius alone”. Transepiphyseal intramedullary K-wire fixation was performed in unstable fractures affecting this transitional area. The operative, postoperative and functional outcomes were assessed and compared to previously treated patients who were treated using other techniques (plate, external fixator or ESIN).

Results: 10 patients received transepiphyseal intramedullary K-wire fixation. Additionally the ulna was stabilized by antegrade ESIN in 5 cases. Cast immobilization was performed for 39, sports restriction for 43 and metal removal was done after 50 days. No complications, bone malalignment, or functional deficits occurred (mean follow-up: 17 months). 13 patients were treated using alternative options. 3 patients had plates with cast immobilization for 26 days, sports restriction for 63 and metal removal after 287 days. 5 patients were treated by external fixation for 54 days. Their sports restriction was 73 days. The remaining 5 patients had ESIN. In 1 of these cases additional cast immobilization was necessary. Their sports restriction was 51 days and metal removal was done after 88 days. In 4 cases a malalignment >10° of the radius was documented, and 1 patient had a functional deficit of forearm pro-/supination.

Conclusion: Transepiphyseal intramedullary K-wire fixation in unstable diametaphyseal forearm fractures is a minimally invasive, quick and technically easy treatment option but requires additional immobilization. Our data suggest that this technique offers advantages compared to alternative treatment options.


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Dr. Justus Lieber

University Children's Hospital

Department of Pediatric Surgery

Hoppe-Seyler-Straße 1

D-72076 Tübingen


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