UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Risk Factor Analysis for Growth Arrest in Paediatric Physeal Fractures—A Prospective Study Hooper, Nikki; Johnson, Liam; Banting, Nicole; Pathy, Rubini; Schaeffer, Emily K.; Bone, Jeffrey N.; Zomar, Bryn O.; Sandhu, Ash; Siu, Caitlyn; Cooper, Anthony P.; et al.


Background: Fractures through the physis account for 18–30% of all paediatric fractures, leading to growth arrest in up to 5.5% of cases. We have limited knowledge to predict which physeal fractures result in growth arrest and subsequent deformity or limb length discrepancy. The purpose of this study is to identify factors associated with physeal growth arrest to improve patient outcomes. Methods: This prospective cohort study was designed to develop a clinical prediction model for growth arrest after physeal injury. Patients ≤ 18 years old presenting within four weeks of injury were enrolled if they had open physes and sustained a physeal fracture of the humerus, radius, ulna, femur, tibia or fibula. Patients with prior history of same-site fracture or a condition known to alter bone growth or healing were excluded. Demographic data, potential prognostic indicators, and radiographic data were collected at baseline, during healing, and at one- and two-years post-injury. Results: A total of 332 patients had at least six months of follow-up or a diagnosis of growth arrest within six months of injury. In a comparison analysis, patients who developed growth arrest were more likely to be older (12.8 years vs. 9.4 years) and injured on the right side (53.0% vs. 45.7%). Initial displacement and angulation rates were higher in the growth arrest group (59.0% vs. 47.8% and 47.0% vs. 38.8%, respectively), but the amount of angulation was similar (27.0° vs. 28.4°). Rates of growth arrest were highest in distal femoral fractures (86%). Conclusions: The incidence of growth arrest in this patient population appears higher than the past literature reports at 30.1%. However, there may be variances in diagnostic criteria for growth arrest, and the true incidence may be lower. A number of patients were approaching skeletal maturity, and any growth arrest is likely to have less clinical significance in these cases. Further prospective long-term follow-up is required to determine risk factors, incidence, and true clinical impact of growth arrest when it does occur.

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