Background: Complex elbow injuries (CEIs) are severe and rare lesions, difficult to treat correctly due to the different patterns of clinical presentations. Standard methods cannot often be applied. The main goals of the treatment are performing a stable osteosynthesis of all fractures, obtaining a concentric and stable reduction of the elbow by repairing the soft tissue constraint lesions, and allowing early motion.Since the introduction of virtual reality (VR) approaches in clinical practice, three-dimensional (3D) computed tomography (CT) and 3D printing have revolutionised orthopaedic surgeries, thus helping to understand the anatomy and the pathology of complex cases.
Case description: We discussed a case of CEI, characterised by an extended soft tissue (IIIB Gustilo classification) and neurovascular lesions associated with bone loss in a young female patient. Olecranon fracture was type IIIB according to Mayo classification. We outlined the steps of a pluri-tissue reconstructive approach and stressed the importance of 3D printing in the preoperative planning for such cases. Finally, peculiar final functional patient outcomes were reported.
Conclusion: In this case, we found out that triceps reinsertion and scar process may provide for the joint stability in a low-demanding patient. 3D printing and VR approaches in clinical practice can be useful in the management of CEIs associated with an important bone and soft tissue loss.
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