[Treatment of proximal ulna and olecranon fractures by reconstruction plate combined with tension band wiring]

Lin Teng, Gang Zhong, Cong Xiao, Gang Liu, Zhou Xiang, Shiqiang Cen, Fuguo Huang
Chinese Journal of Reparative and Reconstructive Surgery 2011, 25 (1): 17-20

UNLABELLED: OBJECTIVE To review the efficacy of reconstruction plate combined with tension band wiring for treating proximal ulna and olecranon fractures.

METHODS: Between November 2004 and September 2009, 10 patients with proximal ulna and olecranon fractures were treated by reconstruction plate combined with tension band wiring. There were 6 males and 4 females with an average age of 45.3 years (range, 21-75 years). Five fractures were caused by traffic accident, 2 by falling from height, 2 by tumbling, and 1 by a machine strangulation. The locations were the left side and the right side in 5 cases respectively. One case was open fracture (Gustilo II) and the other 9 were closed fractures. Olecranon fractures included 4 cases of traverse fractures and 6 cases of comminuted fractures, and proximal ulna fractures included 6 cases of comminuted fractures and 4 cases of oblique fractures. The combined fractures included 6 radial head fractures, 4 coronoid process fractures, 2 proximal humerus fractures, and 3 scapula fractures; other injury included 1 elbow dislocation and 1 shoulder dislocation. Two patients had secondary operation; the other 8 patients received the primary operations and the time from injury to operation varied from 7 days to 20 days, with an average of 11 days.

RESULTS: One case had infection at the incision 1 week after operation, and recovered after 2 months of antibiotics and debridement; incisions healed by first intention in other 9 patients. All patients were followed up 12-64 months (mean, 40.5 months). The X-ray films showed that fracture healing was achieved at 10-24 weeks (mean, 12 weeks). There was no ulnar nerve symptom in all cases. Heterotopic ossification occurred in 1 case at 2 months and stiffness of the elbow in 1 case at 3 months after operation; they were both cured after symptomatic treatment. Proximal migration of Kirschner wires was found in 1 case at 6 months after operation, whose implants were taken out at 9 months after the first operation because fracture had healed. At last follow-up, the flexion and extension are of the elbow averaged 92.8 degrees (range, 23-130 degrees), and the arc of forearm rotation averaged 124.4 degrees (range, 42-175 degrees). According to the American Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) evaluation method, the results were classified as excellent in 6 cases, good in 2, fair in 1, and poor in 1.

CONCLUSION: Treating proximal ulna and olecranon fractures by reconstruction plate combined with tension band wiring allows patients to do postoperative exercise early and could effectively avoid complications.

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