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Surgical reconstruction of comminuted coronoid fracture in terrible triad injury of the elbow

Hong Wu, Qiande Liao, Yong Zhu, Hua Liu
European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology: Orthopédie Traumatologie 2012, 22 (8): 667-71
The terrible triad injury of the elbow is the combination of an elbow dislocation, a radial head fracture and a coronoid process fracture. In this study, we explored the outcome of a modified protocol for terrible triad injury of the elbow in a consecutive series of 14 patients, with a focus on reconstruction of comminuted coronoid fractures. Fourteen patients with terrible triad injuries of the elbow were retrospectively reviewed at a mean follow-up of 23 months (range, 15-30 months) and were clinically and radiographically evaluated. For comminuted coronoid fractures, autografting with resected radial head fragment or ilium fragment with cartilage surface and transosseous suture with non-absorbable suture were performed. Internal fixation of the radial head was performed in six cases and arthroplasty in five. The collateral ligaments were repaired. Mean flexion at last follow-up was 125°, ranging from 100° to 135°. Mean extension loss was 13°, ranging from 0° to 38°. Mean pronation was 70° and mean supination was 66°. No patient experienced dislocation of the radial head prosthesis. The mean Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS) was 87 (range, 75-100), with six excellent cases and eight good cases. According to our intraoperative examination, no patient demonstrated unacceptable residual instability in extension following restoration of all of the osseous and ligamentous lesions. In conclusion, our protocol can achieve stable reconstruction of the coronoid process, which promotes the functional outcome of surgical treatment on terrible triad injuries of the elbow.


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