[Surgical treatment of acute coronoid process fractures]

Ufuk Nalbantoğlu, Arel Gereli, Bariş Kocaoğlu, Uğur Haklar, Metin Türkmen
Acta Orthopaedica et Traumatologica Turcica 2008, 42 (2): 112-8

OBJECTIVES: This study was designed to assess the results of surgical treatment for type 2-3 coronoid process fractures and to identify factors that might influence the outcome.

METHODS: Thirteen male patients (mean age 35 years; range 17 to 53 years) were treated with open reduction and internal fixation for displaced coronoid fractures. According to the Regan-Morrey classification, the fractures were type 2 in nine patients (69.2%), and type 3 in four patients (30.8%). Nine patients had associated injuries (elbow dislocation, radial head or olecranon fractures, and/or ligamentous injuries). The mean duration to treatment was 2.3 days (range 1 to 7 days). Functional results were assessed according to the Mayo elbow performance score (MEPS), and signs of arthritis were assessed according to the Broberg-Morrey criteria. The mean follow-up was 41.1 months (range 12 to 96 months).

RESULTS: A functional range of motion of the elbow joint was achieved in 10 patients (76.9%). The mean elbow range of motion was 110.7 degrees (range 85 degrees to 130 degrees ) and the mean forearm rotation was 134.2 degrees (range 120 degrees to 155 degrees ). Three patients who had comminuted fractures and associated elbow injuries had decreased range of motion. None of the patients exhibited signs of instability. The mean MEPS was 86.5 (range 75 to 100). The results were excellent in four patients (30.8%; the mean MEPS 98.8) having isolated or noncomminuted coronoid fractures, and good in nine patients (69.2%) with comminuted fractures and/or associated bone or ligament injuries. Post-traumatic arthritis was detected in seven patients (53.9%) whose mean MEPS was 81.4. Patients with an excellent functional result did not develop arthritis. All the patients returned to preinjury activity levels.

CONCLUSION: Coronoid fractures are the most important component of complex elbow injuries. The presence of comminuted fractures, associated bone and ligament injuries, and post-traumatic arthritis affect the outcome adversely.

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