Lateral closing wedge osteotomy is a commonly described procedure for correcting cosmetically unacceptable post-traumatic cubitus varus deformity in children. However, complications like residual deformity, lateral prominence, loss of fixation and ulnar nerve palsies commonly contribute to poor outcomes with such an osteotomy.
Patients and methods
Fourteen children (11 boys and three girls) presenting a mal-united extension type supracondylar fracture of the humerus with an average age of 9.07 years (6–14 years) were operated around 3.6 years (1.5–7 years) after the injury using a modified step-cut osteotomy. The average follow-up period was 2.1 years (1–4 years). Objective assessment included measurement of preoperative and postoperative lateral prominence index, carrying angle and range of elbow motion. Results were graded excellent, good or poor as per the Oppenheim criteria.
There were eight excellent, five good and one poor result. A residual varus of more than 10° was seen in the single patient with poor result. None of the patients showed a prominent lateral humeral condyle or formation of hypertrophic scar. Our results were comparable to the published results of the classical lateral closing wedge osteotomy in terms of elbow motion and correction of deformity.
A modified step-cut osteotomy is a safe and simple procedure which prevents lateral prominence and leads to good or excellent outcomes in most of the patients. The step-cut osteotomy procedure, mentioned here, might be beneficial over the conventional lateral closing wedge osteotomy in certain aspects like the lateral humeral condyle prominence, scar acceptibility and cosmesis. However, the apparent aforementioned advantages of this osteotomy over the conventional lateral closing wedge osteotomy needs to be further evaluated and confirmed on the basis of large, prospective randomised controlled trials.
Level of evidence
Level IV. Retrospective study.
Keywords : Cubitus varus, Step-cut, Osteotomy, Lateral prominence, Supracondylar fracture