Humerus Neck Fracture Fixation

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Dr Kau Chung Yuan (许医生)


MRCS (Ireland)

MMed (Ortho)

FRCSEd (Ortho)


What is Humerus Neck Fracture Fixation?

Humerus neck fracture fixation refers to a surgical procedure aimed at repairing a fracture in the neck region of the humerus, the upper arm’s long bone. This area, situated close to the shoulder joint, is particularly vulnerable to injury, often resulting from falls or direct impacts. The fixation process typically involves the use of medical devices like screws, plates, pins, or rods to stabilise the bone, allowing it to heal correctly.

This procedure is considered when non-surgical treatments, such as casting or splinting, are deemed insufficient for the type and severity of the fracture.

When is Humerus Neck Fracture Fixation Needed?

Humerus neck fracture fixation is typically considered in situations where the fracture poses a risk of improper healing or when non-surgical methods are insufficient. Several factors influence the decision to opt for surgical fixation:

  • Displacement of the Fracture
    If the bone fragments are not aligned (displaced fracture), surgical fixation is often required to realign and stabilise them.
  • Fracture Severity
    Complex fractures, such as those with multiple fragments or involvement of the joint surface, often require surgical intervention.
  • Patient Factors
    Age, overall health, activity level, and other medical conditions can affect the decision. For instance, younger, more active individuals might benefit from surgery to ensure a full return to their pre-injury level of activity.
  • Non-union or Malunion Risks
    In cases where there is a high risk of the bone not healing correctly (non-union) or healing in the wrong position (malunion), surgery is often the preferred option.
  • Osteoporosis
    In patients with osteoporosis, the weakened bone might not support non-surgical treatment methods, making surgical fixation a more viable option.

Benefits and Risks of Humerus Neck Fracture Fixation

  • Proper Bone Alignment: Surgical fixation repositions and secures the bone fragments in their correct anatomical position, crucial for proper healing.
  • Improved Functionality: By stabilising the fracture, this surgery helps restore the range of motion and strength of the arm, essential for daily activities.
  • Reduced Risk of Complications: Properly aligned and stabilised fractures are less likely to develop complications like non-union, malunion, or chronic pain.
  • Faster Recovery: In some cases, surgical fixation can lead to a quicker recovery compared to non-surgical treatments, allowing patients to return to their normal activities sooner.
  • Infection: Infection is a common risk in all surgical procedures and can occur at the incision site or within the bone.
  • Nerve or Blood Vessel Damage: The surgery involves operating near nerves and blood vessels, which can sometimes be inadvertently damaged.
  • Implant Problems: Hardware used in the surgery, like screws or plates, might cause discomfort or require removal if complications arise.
  • Anaesthesia Risks: General anaesthesia, commonly used in this surgery, carries its own set of risks, particularly in patients with existing health conditions.
  • Limited Mobility or Stiffness: Some patients may experience stiffness or limited mobility in the shoulder or arm post-surgery.

Preparing for Humerus Neck Fracture Fixation

Preparing for a humerus neck fracture fixation surgery involves several steps to ensure the best possible outcome. These preparations typically include:

  • Preoperative Assessment
    This involves a thorough medical evaluation, which may include blood tests, X-rays, and other imaging studies to assess the fracture and overall health status.
  • Medication Review
    Patients should inform their orthopaedic surgeon about all medications they are taking, as some may need to be stopped or adjusted before surgery.
  • Fasting Before Surgery
    Patients are usually required to fast (not eat or drink) for several hours before the operation to reduce the risk of complications during anaesthesia.


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What Can You Expect During a Humerus Neck Fracture Fixation

During a humerus neck fracture fixation surgery, patients can expect the following steps:

  • Anaesthesia: The procedure is typically performed under general anaesthesia, meaning the patient will be asleep and not feel any pain during the surgery.
  • Incision: The orthopaedic surgeon will make an incision near the site of the fracture. The location and size of the incision depend on the specific nature of the fracture.
  • Fixation: The orthopaedic surgeon will reposition the bone fragments into their normal alignment. Metal hardware such as screws, plates, rods, or pins are then used to hold the bone fragments in place.
  • Closure: Once the fracture is secured, the incision is closed with sutures or staples.

Dr. Kau Chung Yuan

MBBS (S’pore)

MRCS (Ireland)

MMed (Ortho)

FRCSEd (Ortho)

Dr Kau (许医生) is a Fellowship trained Orthopaedic Surgeon with a subspecialty interest in Hip and Knee surgery and has been in practice for more than 15 years.

He is experienced in trauma and fracture management, sports injuries, and joint replacement surgery.

  • Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, Orthopaedics (FRCS, Edin) 2014
  • Master of Medicine (Orthopaedics), Singapore (MMed) 2013
  • Member of the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (MRCS, Ire) 2009
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS, Singapore) 2004

Postoperative Care and Rehabilitation

Postoperative care and rehabilitation are crucial for a successful recovery following humerus neck fracture fixation. This phase typically involves:

  • Pain Management
    Some degree of pain is common as a postoperative experience but varies in intensity. The orthopaedic surgeon will provide medications and guidance on managing discomfort.
  • Wound Care
    Patients will receive instructions on how to care for the surgical site to prevent infection and promote healing.
  • Physical Therapy
    Rehabilitation often begins shortly after surgery. Physical therapy is essential to regain strength and range of motion in the arm and shoulder.
  • Activity Modification
    Initially, patients may need to modify their activities to avoid putting stress on the healing bone. Gradually, more activities can be reintroduced as healing progresses.
  • Follow-Up Appointments
    Regular follow-up with the orthopaedic surgeon is important to monitor the progress of healing and to address any concerns.
  • Home Exercises
    In addition to formal physical therapy, patients may be advised to perform certain exercises at home to enhance their recovery.
  • Long-Term Care
    Full recovery can take several months. Patients should adhere to the guidelines provided by their orthopaedic surgeon to ensure the best possible outcome.

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Patient Feedback

Ethan Chan
Dr. Kau is an exemplary doctor who is experienced in his field and is very patient with his patients. He walked me through the details of my knee condition and addressed all my concerns. Thanks to Dr. Kau, I had a better understanding of my ACL and MCL injury and the various treatment options available. His advice and treatment have been very valuable to me.
Ming Lee Chua
Dr Kau was very careful and explained clearly the surgery procedures. After surgery, the care while I was in hospital was closely monitored and he even came during weekends! The hip so far has recovered and healed. His ‘predictions’ of when what can happen are so accurate. Trust him.
Teo Pek Suan Diana
I had a very successful total hip replacement done by Dr Kau 4 years ago. 4 months after the operation I was back walking, cycling and swimming. The beautiful job gave me much confidence Dr Kau is most professional and has such great doctor patient communication.

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    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    How Long Does It Take to Recover from Humerus Neck Fracture Fixation?

    Recovery time following humerus neck fracture fixation can vary significantly based on individual circumstances. Generally, the initial healing phase, where the bone starts to knit together, may take about 6 to 8 weeks.

    However, complete recovery, including regaining full strength and mobility, often takes 3 to 6 months. Factors such as the severity of the fracture, the patient’s age, overall health, and adherence to rehabilitation protocols determine the exact recovery timeline.

    Are There Any Restrictions After the Surgery?

    After humerus neck fracture fixation, patients are usually restricted from heavy lifting, strenuous activities, and certain arm movements to protect the healing bone. These restrictions are gradually lifted based on healing progress, typically reviewed during follow-up appointments.

    The orthopaedic surgeon will tailor activity guidelines to the patient’s specific case, considering factors like the type of surgery and overall health.

    What Are the Signs of Complications I Should Watch for After Surgery?

    Post-surgery, it is important to monitor for signs such as increased pain, swelling, redness, or discharge at the surgery site, which could indicate infection or other complications. Fever or unusual changes in the operated arm’s sensation or movement also warrant immediate medical attention.

    Patients are advised to contact their orthopaedic surgeon promptly if they experience any of these symptoms.

    Can I Drive After Humerus Neck Fracture Fixation Surgery?

    Driving is generally not recommended until the patient has regained sufficient arm strength and mobility, and is no longer under the influence of pain medications that impair motor skills and reaction time.

    The ability to drive safely is typically assessed during follow-up visits, and the orthopaedic surgeon will advise when it is safe to resume driving. This decision is based on the patient’s recovery progress and the specific demands of driving.

    Will There Be a Visible Scar After Surgery?

    Surgical intervention for humerus neck fracture fixation will result in a scar. The size and visibility depend on the specific surgical approach and the individual’s healing characteristics. Scars tend to fade and become less noticeable over time.