Radial Nerve Transposition with Humeral Fracture Fixation: Preliminary Results

Carlos M. Olarte, Michael Darowish, Bruce H. Ziran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Humeral shaft fractures traditionally have been managed with closed treatment. In patients with polytrauma, open fractures, and patients at risk for nonunion, open reduction and internal fixation and intramedullary nailing have been advocated. The current study describes a technique used in humeral shaft fractures that reduces the risk of iatrogenic radial nerve injury during plate osteosynthesis in fracture patterns at high risk of nonunion (highly comminuted, transverse fractures). Ten patients who had radial nerve transposition were reviewed retrospectively using the electronic records database at the authors' institution. The average age of the patients was 27 years and average followup was 25 months. All had humeral shaft fractures, AO class A3.2 in four patients, B3.2 in five patients, and C2.2 in one patient. All fractures were deemed to be at high risk for nonunion. There were no iatrogenic nerve palsies as a result of the transposition, and no infections. Two patients had delayed or nonunion, who achieved healing after a second intervention. Transposition of the radial nerve is a useful adjunct to plating of humeral shaft fractures in patients at high risk for nonunion. The technique is safe, does not cause iatrogenic injury, and protects the radial nerve during all subsequent approaches to the fracture site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-174
Number of pages5
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
StatePublished - Aug 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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