Loss of alignment after surgical treatment of posterior Monteggia fractures: salvage with dorsal contoured plating

David Ring, Jason Tavakolian, Peter Kloen, David Helfet, Jesse B Jupiter
Journal of Hand Surgery 2004, 29 (4): 694-702

PURPOSE: To review the results of internal fixation with a dorsal contoured plate in patients with malalignment after internal fixation of a posterior Monteggia fracture.

METHODS: Seventeen patients with malalignment after surgical treatment of a posterior Monteggia fracture were treated with realignment of the ulna and fixation with a contoured dorsal plate. Fifteen patients had loose fixation and 12 patients had subluxation or dislocation of the ulnohumeral joint. Sixteen patients had fracture of the radial head and 9 patients had fracture of the coronoid process. Nine patients had ancillary procedures on the radial head, 4 had ancillary procedures on the coronoid, 5 had hinged external fixation, and one had fascial arthroplasty. Seven patients had another surgery before the final evaluation related to a complication in 6 patients and a to subsequent injury in 1 patient.

RESULTS: At the final evaluation at an average of 59 months the fracture was healed and the ulnohumeral joint was reduced concentrically in all 17 patients. The average arc of elbow flexion was 108 degrees and the average arc of forearm rotation was 134 degrees. The average American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Elbow Evaluation Score was 88. According to the system of Broberg and Morrey, the final result was rated excellent for 5 patients, good for 9, fair for 2, and poor for 1. One patient had fascial arthroplasty as part of the index procedure and 9 patients had radiographic signs of ulnohumeral arthrosis.

CONCLUSIONS: Malalignment after surgical treatment of posterior Monteggia fractures often is associated with unstable fixation. Dorsal contoured plating of the ulna in combination with other procedures can help salvage a malaligned posterior Monteggia fracture with satisfactory function restored in the majority of patients.

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