Impaired Forearm Rotation After Tension-Band-Wiring Fixation of Olecranon Fractures: Evaluation of the Transcortical K-wire Technique

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Abstract

Summary:

The tension-band-wiring technique is a well-accepted method of internal fixation of olecranon fractures. In addition, it is suggested that transcortical placement of the k-wires results in lower rates wire migration. We encountered two clinical cases in which transcortical placement of the k-wires led to impairment of forearm rotation. An anatomic study was conducted to study the effect of transcortical wire placement to avoid similar future complications. Using specimens from 10 embalmed cadavers, we found that transcortical wires inserted in <30° of ulnar angulation in the coronal plane to the medial ridge of the olecranon, impinged on the radial neck, supinator muscle, or biceps tendon. This was avoided in all 10 specimens when the wires were inserted, with the forearm in supination, at 30° of ulnar angulation. We recommend this technique to be adopted to avoid forearm rotation impairment.

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