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Humerus Fracture

Humerus Fracture is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Proximal humeral fractures:
    • Typically described as nondisplaced, displaced, and/or fracture/dislocation
    • Account for 5% of all fractures
    • Increased incidence with age
    • 4:1 female to male
    • Vast majority of patients are >60 yr old
    • 3rd most common osteoporotic fracture, after hip and distal radius fractures
    • Neer classification: A system that identifies the number of fragments and their location:
      • Fractures consist of 2–4-part fractures; the locations include the anatomic neck, surgical neck, greater tuberosity, and lesser tuberosity.
      • Fracture/dislocations also part of the Neer classification
  • Humeral shaft fractures:
    • Account for <3% of fractures
    • May be spiral, oblique, or transverse
    • Humeral shaft fractures (AO classification):
      • Simple
      • Wedge
      • Comminuted (complex)


  • Proximal humerus fractures:
    • Most often a history of a fall (low energy)
    • Most common is fall on outstretched hand
    • Less common is violent muscle contraction from shock or seizure or higher-energy injury
  • Humeral shaft fractures:
    • High-energy direct trauma (penetrating or blunt) or bending force
    • Less common from fall
    • Stress fractures from throwing injury

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Humerus Fracture." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307650/all/Humerus_Fracture.
Humerus Fracture. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307650/all/Humerus_Fracture. Accessed April 23, 2019.
Humerus Fracture. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307650/all/Humerus_Fracture
Humerus Fracture [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 23]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307650/all/Humerus_Fracture.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Humerus Fracture ID - 307650 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307650/all/Humerus_Fracture PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -