Laura M. Perez- Lopez1, Isabel Parada-Avendaño2, Marisa Cabrera-Gonzalez1, César G. Fontecha1

1Department of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Sant Joan de Deu Children’s Hospital, Barcelona, Spain
2Department of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Miguel Servet University Hospital, Zaragoza, Spain

Keywords: Distal phalanx, infection, Juxta-epiphyseal fracture, osteomyelitis, phalanx fracture, Seymour fracture

Abstract

Objectives: This study aims to analyze the functional results, management, and complications of acute Seymour fracture treatment and to generalize the understanding of Seymour fractures, as well as awareness about its controversial treatment and critical sequelae.

Patients and methods: Between January 1994 and December 2019, a total of 29 patients (20 males, 9 females; mean age: 7.9±3.9 years; range, 1 to 15 years) who presented within the first 24 h of injury and were diagnosed with Seymour fractures and treated in the emergency setting were retrospectively analyzed. Clinical and radiological data were collected from medical records at the time of diagnosis and during follow-up, within a week after the treatment and in the visits required until fracture healing, and no sequelae were observed. In the event of complications, a minimum of one year of follow-up was carried out. Radiographs were taken of the anteroposterior and lateral views during each visit.

Results: The mean follow-up was 10.8±8.6 (range, 2 to 36) months. Surgical treatment in the operating room was performed in 24 (82.7%) patients using a single longitudinal Kirschner wire (K-wire) fixation through the distal phalanx and the distal interphalangeal joint in 21 patients. Non-operative treatment based on closed reduction and splinting was performed in five (17.3%) patients. There was no statistically significant difference in the final passive range of motion and physeal growth arrest in relation to the use or non-use of K-wires. The use of antibiotics in any of the three possible administrations (intravenous antibiotic regimen, intravenous and later oral antibiotic at-home or oral antibiotics), in relation to the non-use of antibiotics seemed to be a protective factor against infections (odds ratio=0.04; 95% confidence interval: 0.006-0.2; p=0.001).

Conclusion: The identification of Seymour fractures is crucial for applying the correct treatment and reducing the risk of complications, such as osteomyelitis and physeal alterations. Based on our study results, we can suggest that the use of an antibiotic regimen causes a lower risk of infections in acute Seymour fractures. The prompt identification of these fractures with a standardized protocol covering irrigation, debridement, reduction, fixation, and prophylactic antibiotics is needed to avoid complications.