National trends reveal increased transfers to referral hospitals for surgical management of pediatric supracondylar humerus (SCH) fractures. This is partly because of the belief that pediatric orthopaedic surgeons (POs) deliver improved outcomes compared with nonpediatric orthopaedic surgeons (NPOs). We compared early outcomes of surgically treated SCH fractures between POs and NPOs at a single center where both groups manage these fractures.

Patients ages 3 to 10 undergoing surgery for SCH fractures from 2014 to 2020 were included. Patient demographics and perioperative details were recorded. Radiographs at surgery and short-term follow-up assessed reduction. Primary outcomes were major loss of reduction (MLOR) and iatrogenic nerve injury (INI). Complications were compared between PO-treated and NPO-treated cohorts.

Three hundred and eleven fractures were reviewed. POs managed 132 cases, and NPOs managed 179 cases. Rate of MLOR was 1.5% among POs and 2.2% among NPOs (P=1). Rate of INI was 0% among POs and 3.4% among NPOs (P=0.041). All nerve palsies resolved postoperatively by mean 13.1 weeks. Rates of reoperation, infection, readmission, and open reduction were not significantly different. Operative times were decreased among POs (38.1 vs. 44.6 min; P=0.030). Pin constructs were graded as higher quality in the PO group, with a higher mean pin spread ratio (P=0.029), lower rate of "C" constructs (only 1 "column" engaged; P=0.010) and less frequent crossed-pin technique (P< 0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed minimal positive associations only for operative time with MLOR (odds ratio=1.021; P=0.005) and INI (odds ratio=1.048; P=0.009).

Postsurgical outcomes between POs and NPOs were similar. Rates of MLOR were not different between groups, despite differences in pin constructs. The NPO group experienced a marginally higher rate of INI, though all injuries resolved. Pediatric subspecialty training is not a prerequisite for successfully treating SCH fractures, and overall value of orthopaedic care may be improved by decreasing transfers for these common injuries.

Level III-retrospective cohort study.