Treatment of Olecranon Fractures With 2.4- and 2.7-mm Plating Techniques

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Abstract

Objectives:

To evaluate the outcomes of olecranon fractures treated with 2.4- and 2.7-mm plate constructs.

Design:

Retrospective Case Series.

Setting:

One-level 1 trauma center and 1 tertiary care hospital.

Patients:

Thirty-five consecutive patients meeting inclusion criteria.

Intervention:

A 2.7- or 2.4-mm reconstruction plate was placed on the dorsal ulnar cortex and contoured to allow passage of either a 2.7- or 3.5-mm intramedullary screw. In 9 patients, additional plates were required to control comminution. Available computed tomographic (CT) scans were evaluated for the presence of comminution.

Main Outcome Measurements:

Average Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) and Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS).

Results:

All fractures were united. Average extension deficit was 4.2 degrees, and average flexion angle was 137.4 degrees. Outcome scores were completed by 94% (33/35) of study patients. Average DASH score was 6.6, and average MEPS score was 94.5. Implants were removed in 18 patients. In the cohort of patients with CT scans, 6 of the 7 fractures thought to be simple on plain film analysis were found to have occult comminution on CT scan.

Conclusions:

Comminution should be considered in all olecranon fractures, even when plain films display simple patterns; although this did not affect treatment in this series of plated patients, it may be important if selecting tension band wiring. Fixation with 2.4- and 2.7-mm plates addresses comminution in olecranon fractures, avoiding the pitfalls of tension band wiring. In patients with completed outcome scores, 97% (32/33) reported their outcomes as good or excellent according to the MEPS.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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