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Trends in the surgical treatment of proximal humeral fractures – a nationwide 23-year study in Finland

Tuomas T Huttunen125*, Antti P Launonen2, Harri Pihlajamäki3, Pekka Kannus245 and Ville M Mattila25

Author affiliations

1 Department of Anesthesia, Valkeakoski Regional Hospital, Valkeakoski, Finland

2 Division of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Department of Trauma, Musculoskeletal Surgery and Rehabilitation, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland

3 Division of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Seinäjoki Central Hospital, Seinäjoki, Finland

4 Injury & Osteoporosis Research Center, UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Tampere, Finland

5 Medical School, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

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Citation and License

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:261  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-261

Published: 29 December 2012



Proximal humeral fractures are common osteoporotic fractures. Most proximal humeral fractures are treated non-surgically, although surgical treatment has gained popularity. The purpose of this study was to determine changes in the surgical treatment of proximal humeral fractures in Finland between 1987 and 2009.


The study covered the entire adult (>19 y) population in Finland over the 23-year period from 1st of January 1987 to 31st of December 2009. We assessed the number and incidence of surgically treated proximal humeral fractures in each year of observation and recorded the type of surgery used. The cohort study was based on data from Finnish National Hospital Discharge Register.


During the 23-year study period, a total of 10,560 surgical operations for proximal humeral fractures were performed in Finland. The overall incidence of these operations nearly quadrupled between 1987 and 2009. After the year 2002, the number of patients treated with plating increased.


An increase in the incidence of the surgical treatment of proximal humeral fractures was seen in Finland in 1987–2009. Fracture plating became increasingly popular since 2002. As optimal indications for each surgical treatment modality in the treatment of proximal humeral fractures are not known, critical evaluation of each individual treatment method is needed.