JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Chronic posttraumatic anterior dislocation of the radial head in children: thirteen cases treated by open reduction, ulnar osteotomy, and annular ligament reconstruction through a Boyd incision.

OBJECTIVE: To report the results of open reduction, ulnar osteotomy, and annular ligament reconstruction all through a Boyd incision for chronic radial head dislocations in children.

DESIGN: Retrospective review.

SETTING: Tertiary pediatric orthopaedic care unit at a general hospital in Taichung, Taiwan.

PATIENTS/PARTICIPANTS: From 1986 to 2003, 13 children, aged 4 to 13 (mean, 8.3) years, who had a chronic traumatic anterior dislocation of the radial head were treated at our institute. These patients were seen at our hospital 2 to 36 (mean, 8.2) months after injury.

INTERVENTION: Open reduction of the radial head, ulnar osteotomy, then rigid fixation with plate/screws, and annular ligament reconstruction with forearm fascia, all performed through a Boyd incision.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Forearm radiographs for reduction and osteotomy site union, physical examinations for elbow mobility, and Kim's elbow performance scores for overall elbow function. Evaluations were done at a special follow-up clinic for this study by a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon who was not involved in the patients' previous care.

RESULTS: Patient follow-up averaged 7.8 (range, 1-16.9) years after surgery. Twelve of our cases had successful radial head reductions, satisfactory elbow mobility, and excellent functional outcome. One case had a redislocation, was retreated, and had a fair result. Other complications included 1 patient with transient posterior interosseous nerve palsy, and 1 delayed union of an ulnar osteotomy site, which healed without further intervention at 1 year with an excellent result.

CONCLUSION: This surgical procedure provides a high success rate with a low level of complications for chronic radial head dislocations in children.

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