Nonoperative Management of Displaced Olecranon Fractures in Low-Demand Elderly Patients

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Background:The aim of this study was to document both the short and the long-term outcomes following primary nonoperative management of isolated displaced fractures of the olecranon.Methods:We identified, from our prospective trauma database, all patients who had been managed nonoperatively for a displaced olecranon fracture over a thirteen-year period. Inclusion criteria included all isolated fractures of the olecranon with >2-mm displacement of the articular surface. The primary short-term outcome measure was the Broberg and Morrey Elbow Score. The primary long-term outcome measure was the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score.Results:There were forty-three patients with a mean age of seventy-six years (range, forty to ninety-eight years) in the study cohort. A low-energy fall from a standing height accounted for 84% of all injuries, and one or more comorbidities were documented in thirty-eight patients (88%). At a mean of four months (range, 1.5 to ten months) following injury, the mean Broberg and Morrey score was 83 points (range, 48 to 100 points), with 72% of the patients having an excellent or good short-term outcome. No patient underwent surgery for a symptomatic nonunion. At a mean of six years (range, two to fifteen years) postinjury, the mean DASH score was 2.9 points (range, 0 to 33.9 points) and the mean Oxford Elbow Score was 47 points (range, 42 to 48 points); 91% (twenty-one) of twenty-three patients available for follow-up expressed satisfaction with the result of the procedure.Conclusions:We found satisfactory short-term and long-term outcomes following the nonoperative management of isolated displaced olecranon fractures in older, lower-demand patients.Level of Evidence:Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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