JOURNAL ARTICLE

Arthrolysis combined with reconstruction for treatment of terrible triad injury with a poor outcome after surgical as well as conservative intervention

Wei Wang, Jun-jian Liu, Shen Liu, Hong-jiang Ruan, Xu-jun Li, Cun-yi Fan
Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery 2014, 134 (3): 325-31
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INTRODUCTION: The treatment of terrible triad injury with a poor outcome after intervention has not been successful thus far. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of arthrolysis and reconstruction in the treatment of terrible triad injury with a poor outcome after surgical as well as conservative intervention.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twelve patients (12 elbows) with the diagnosis of terrible triad injury were respectively reviewed. All the 12 patients had elbow dysfunction after conservative and surgical treatment of the terrible triad injury. Preoperatively, the flexion arc and forearm rotation were 36.7° ± 28.5° and 51.3° ± 43.4°, respectively, and the Mayo Elbow Performance Score was 56.3 points. The mean interval between the primary injury and our surgical treatment was 6.6 months. Our surgical intervention included elbow arthrolysis, ulnar nerve transposition, radial head replacement, coronoid process and ligament repair, and hinged external fixation. Patients were encouraged to participate in rehabilitation training 24 h after surgery.

RESULTS: The mean follow-up duration was 20.1 months; the flexion arc and forearm rotation were 122° ± 18° and 140° ± 20°, respectively, and the mean Mayo Elbow Performance Score was 94.6 points (9 excellent, 3 good). Concentric stability was restored in all elbows. Complications included superficial pin tract infection (1), heterotopic ossification (3), and ulnar nerve palsy (1); the ulnar nerve symptoms had improved at the last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: The combination of open arthrolysis and reconstruction performed at a mean interval of 6-month posttrauma can restore functional mobility in cases of terrible triad injury with a poor outcome after surgical as well as conservative intervention. Thus, it may be an effective alternative for the treatment of the poor outcome terrible triad injury. We recommend early functional rehabilitation with adherence to the guidelines for hinged external fixation.

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