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Delayed diagnosis is a well-known complication of a Monteggia fracture-dislocation. If left untreated, the dislocated radial head later becomes symptomatic. The purposes of this study were firstly, to evaluate the clinical and radiological results of open reduction of the radial head and secondly, to identify the factors that may affect the outcome of this procedure.This retrospective study evaluated 30 children with a chronic Monteggia lesion. There were 18 boys and 12 girls with a mean age of 7.4 years (4 to 13) at the time of open reduction. The mean interval to surgery, after the initial fracture, was 23.4 months (6 to 120). Clinical grading used a Kim modified elbow score: radiological outcome was recorded. The effect of the patient's age, gender, duration from initial injury, Bado classification, and annular ligament reconstruction were analyzed. The mean follow-up was 42.2 months (15 to 20).The Kim elbow scores evaluated at the last clinic visit were excellent in 23 patients, good in three, fair in two, and poor in two. A majority of the patients were found to have significant improvement of elbow flexion (p < 0.001). Six met the criteria of a fair radiological outcome; four of these were operated on more than 24 months after the initial injury, and three had surgery after the age of 11. Univariate analysis failed to find any factor that was significantly associated with a fair or poor outcome.Good clinical and radiological outcomes can be expected in most patients. Osteoarthritic changes were associated with age > 11 years and/or a delay of treatment of > 24 months. However, no statistically significant factor could be identified which correlated with an unfavourable outcome.Cite this article:Bone Joint J2018;100-B:1117–24.