Monteggia fractures in adults. Review of 54 cases

M Llusà Perez, C Lamas, I Martínez, G Pidemunt, X Mir
Chirurgie de la Main 2002, 21 (5): 293-7

INTRODUCTION: We present a review of Monteggia fractures treated in our hospital between 1992 and 1998.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Fifty four patients with a Monteggia fracture were treated in our hospital with an average follow-up of 24 months (12-48 months). The average age was 41 years (18-81 years). According to the classification of Bado, there were 24 type I, 20 type II, 6 type III and 4 type IV. The etiology was in 27 cases a motor-vehicle and motorcycle accident, five a pedestrian struck by a car, 21 by a causal fall and only one by a direct hit by an iron bar in an assault. In 56% of the patients, the lesions were associated with polytrauma. In all the cases, treatment consisted of open reduction and internal fixation of the ulnar fracture using different methods of osteosynthesis (3.5 mm DCP, 3.5 mm reconstruction plates, 6.5 mm cancellous screw, tension band technique with Kirschner wires, and one-third tubular plates). Initial treatment of the radial head dislocation was attempted by closed reduction and verification under fluoroscopy. Subsequent open reduction and osteosynthesis were performed in 10 cases, and resection of radial head was necessary in three cases as the initial treatment. There were six open fractures with one case developing chronic infection.

RESULTS: Results were evaluated according to the criteria of Anderson (union fracture, elbow and wrist flexion/extension). The results were excellent in nine patients (17%), satisfactory in 33 (61%), unsatisfactory in nine (17%) and failure in three (5%). Complications could be attributed to the severity of injury, type of fixation and errors in technique (four non-union, three failure of one-third tubular plates, one distal radioulnar instability) and to some features peculiar to this lesion (five nerve injuries, three redislocations of the radial head and four radioulnar synostosis). We needed to perform 14 reoperations to resolve some of the above mentioned complications.

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