HealthDay News — Obesity is associated with more complex elbow fractures in children, as well as with a greater risk of postoperative complications, according to research published The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Mark A. Seeley, MD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues reviewed records from 354 children, aged 2 to 11 years, who had received surgical treatment for extension-type supracondylar humeral fractures. The effects of obesity on fracture complexity and associated injuries were assessed.

Obese children (BMI >95th percentile) were significantly more likely to experience the following complications than their normal weight peers:

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  • Complex fractures — odds ratio 9.19 (95% CI: 4.25-19.92; P < 0.001)
  • Preoperative nerve palsies — OR 2.69 (95% CI: 1.15-6.29; P=0.02)
  • Postoperative nerve palsies — OR 7.69 (95% CI: 2.66-22.31; P<0.001)
  • Postoperative complications — OR 4.03 (95% CI: 1.72-9.46; P<0.001)

In addition, obese children were more likely to sustain complex upper extremity fractures from falling onto an outstretched hand (OR 13.00; 95% CI: 3.44 to 49.19; P<0.001), compared with normal-weight children.

“To our knowledge, this study is the first to assess the implications of obesity on supracondylar humeral fracture complexity and associated injuries and it validates public health efforts in combating childhood obesity,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Seeley MA et al. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2014; 96(3):e18 1-10.