Outcome of Plate Fixation of Olecranon Fractures
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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the functional outcome of plate fixation for displaced olecranon fractures, both simple and comminuted. DESIGN: Retrospective patient, chart, and radiographic review. SETTING: Academic teaching hospital. PATIENTS: Twenty-five patients who underwent plate fixation of displaced olecranon fractures by two surgeons were independently reviewed at an average follow-up of thirty-four months (range, 15-69 months). MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Physical capability was assessed by measuring range of motion and isometric elbow strength. Patient-rated outcomes were evaluated using the SF-36, DASH, Mayo Elbow Performance Index (MEPI), and visual analogue scales for patient satisfaction and pain. Radiographs were evaluated preoperatively, postoperatively, and at the time of final review. RESULTS: The average patient age was fifty-four years (range, 14-81 years). The Mayo classification of fractures was fourteen Type II and eleven Type III. An adequate reduction was maintained in all elbows until union. Physical capability measures indicated nonsignificant side-to-side differences in motion or strength, except for supination motion, which was reduced in the injured arm (p = 0.003). The MEPI-rated outcome was twenty-two excellent or good. Patient satisfaction was high (9.7/10), with a low pain rating (1/10). The mean DASH score was consistent with almost normal upper extremity function. The SF-36 showed no difference in physical health as compared with the average American population. Twenty percent of patients required plate removal because of prominence of the internal fixation. The outcome was not influenced by fracture pattern. CONCLUSION: Plate fixation is an effective treatment option for displaced olecranon fractures with a good functional outcome and a low incidence of complications.
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