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SPECIAL ARTICLE  THE TRAUMATIC ELBOW: CURRENT CONCEPTS 

Minerva Orthopedics 2022 April;73(2):195-203

DOI: 10.23736/S2784-8469.21.04222-X

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Olecranon fractures

Giuseppe CARBONE , Andrea SESSA, Alessandro MARINELLI, Marco CAVALLO, Alice RITALI, Mariapina MONETTA, Enrico GUERRA

Unit of Shoulder and Elbow, Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute, Bologna, Italy



Olecranon fractures are common injuries, representing approximately 10% of all upper extremity fractures in adults. All olecranon fractures are intra-articular injuries and, therefore, most of them require surgical treatment. The goals of treatment are anatomic restoration of the articular surface, stable fixation of the fracture in order to allow an early mobilization and, finally, the restoration of joint stability and motion, as well as prevent stiffness and other major complications. Nonoperative treatment may be appropriated in few and selected cases, especially in low-demands patients and when comorbidities increase surgical risks. In other cases, surgical treatment represents the best treatment to achieve correct articular congruity that led to better clinical outcomes. Various techniques have been proposed, such as tension band wiring (TBW), intramedullary fixation, plate fixation and fragment excision with triceps advancement. The choice of fixation method depends on fracture’s features and in this light preoperative planning is fundamental to select the appropriate treatment, in order to reach a stable fixation that allows early mobilization. The most common complication of surgical treatment is hardware irritation, which occurs in a variable rate depending on kind of hardware fixation and often results in reoperation for hardware removal. All the treatments show good to excellent results, but the optimal treatment should be customized based on fracture’s pattern and patient’s functional request. Choosing the correct treatment is the key to lead to good clinical and radiographic outcomes.


KEY WORDS: Olecranon process; Orthopedics; Wounds and injuries

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