Treatment methods

Tailored treatment for your needs

Our specialists have various treatment options at their disposal to treat a humeral head fracture. Each treatment starts with a detailed discussion with you. Together, we will determine your exact needs and demands for the treatment. It is our goal to restore your shoulder function early and in the best possible way. We want to avoid permanent pain and prevent the development of osteoarthritis (wear and tear of the joints). 

For older patients, we need to know what your domestic situation is like and who can support you at home and in everyday life. In the case of sports or work accidents, we analyse your stress profile and functional requirements. This enables us to work with you to select the best treatment method. 

Conservative treatment methods

Conservative humeral head fracture therapy

Conservative therapy of the humeral head fracture is possible for most patients. Your arm is immobilised in an arm sling or in an abduction cushion (arm in a slight abduction position) for about two to three weeks. The choice of immobilisation depends on the type of fracture. You will also receive painkillers during the first phase. You start physiotherapy in the first few weeks after a humeral head fracture. During this, the swelling is treated, the position of your shoulder blade corrected and passive movements carried out. Then you gradually start with active movements and strength exercises. The treatment is lengthy, the final function of your shoulder is usually achieved after six months. 

Surgical treatment methods

Minimally invasive screw connection in a humeral head fracture

Fixation of the fracture may be necessary if you have a greater tubercle fracture. Our experts can choose between sutures, suture anchors and/or screws. We perform this operation with small incisions (a few centimetres) or arthroscopically. 

Screw connection with a plate

If you have a fracture below the head (subcapital humeral head fracture) or a comminuted fracture, a screw connection using a plate (plate osteosynthesis) is necessary. 

We reassemble the individual bone fragments here. These are held in the correct position with the help of screws and a plate.

Joint replacement (fracture prosthesis) after a humeral head fracture

A joint replacement is the method of choice if the bone fragments have shifted significantly, the blood flow to your joint fragments is endangered or the bone density is not sufficient for fixation. Our experts will use an artificial joint (endoprosthesis) for this purpose. Special fracture prostheses are adapted to the particular fracture situation. 

For this procedure, our specialists use what is known as an inverse prosthesis (inverted prosthesis). This means that the ball of the joint is attached to the shoulder blade and the socket to the humeral head. The function of your joint is therefore no longer dependent on a functioning rotator cuff. 

The advantage of a shoulder prosthesis is that you can quickly put a load on your joint again. We also avoid the risks of non-healing (pseudoarthrosis) or displacement of the bone fragments. This procedure is the quickest way to restore the ability to use your arm in everyday life. 

Forms of anaesthesia when treating a humeral head fracture

All surgical methods are performed using a combination of local anaesthetic and general anaesthetic. Most of your pain stimuli are eliminated with the regional anaesthetic (pain catheter). This allows us to use a low dosage of your general anaesthetic. You will benefit greatly from the combination in the days following the operation. The pain catheter remains in place for the first few days after your operation. This allows you to move painlessly the day after the operation and learn your first exercises.