Humerus is the upper arm bone and it forms two joints —shoulder joint and elbow joint. The proximal humerus is the upper end of arm bone that forms shoulder joint. Fractures of proximal humerus are common in elderly individuals suffering from osteoporosis. Fractures are caused by traumatic injuries such as a fall on outstretched hand from greater heights or motor vehicle accidents. In younger individuals a severe trauma can cause these fractures.
Proximal humerus fractures can be categorized into 4 groups:
In addition to above, another type of proximal humerus fractures is two, three, and four part fractures, a fracture cause multiple fragmentation of the proximal humerus.
Patients with proximal humerus fracture experience severe pain, swelling, and restricted motion of the shoulder.
Proximal humerus fracture is diagnosed by physical examination, X-ray of the affected area and/or computerized tomography (CT) scan.
Most proximal humerus fractures are minimally displaced and can be treated with conservative approaches such as use of sling to immobilize and early physical therapy to improve the functional outcome. Surgery may be necessary in displaced fractures. The multiple fragments are fixed with plates, screws, or pins and in severe cases a shoulder replacement surgery is performed.
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