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Chirurgia 2013 December;26(6):401-5

language: English

Complications of isolated radial head fracture

Bagherifard A., Yeganeh A., Ghazvinian B., Shahoseini G., Moghtadaei M.

Orthopedic Surgery Department, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


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Aim: The aim of this paper was to determine the frequency of complications of isolated radial head fractures treated either surgically (Kocher approach) or conservatively.
Methods: Medical records of 40 patients with isolated radial head fractures who referred to our hospital between 2004 and 2007 were evaluated. All patients were followed up clinically and retrospectively for 6 months. DASH outcome measure was used to assess the treatment outcomes.
Results: Thirty patients were managed with conservative therapy and 10 patients underwent Kocher surgery. Posterior interosseous nerve injury was found in 3 of the 10 patients who underwent surgery and Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) was detected in 7 cases, one in surgery group (10%) and 6 in conservative group (20%). Posterior interosseous nerve injury was significantly higher in patients who underwent surgical therapy;however, RSD was found significantly higher in patient who received conservative therapy. Range of Motion (ROM) of the affected elbow was significantly decreased in all directions in all fracture types when compared with the contarlateral joint.
Conclusion: Complications of radial head fractures are common after both conservative and surgery treatments. A better understanding of these complications might contribute to better clinical outcomes with higher patients’ satisfaction levels. Further studies with longer follow-up periods (at least two years) are needed in order to achieve more comprehensive results.

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