Strategies in Trauma and Limb Reconstruction

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VOLUME 4 , ISSUE 2 ( October, 2009 ) > List of Articles

Original Article

Treatment of chronically unreduced complex dislocations of the elbow

Roland Ivo, Konrad Mader, Jens Dargel, Dietmar Pennig

Keywords : Chronic elbow dislocation, Hinged external fixation, Elbow distraction, In situ neurolysis of ulnar nerve

Citation Information : Ivo R, Mader K, Dargel J, Pennig D. Treatment of chronically unreduced complex dislocations of the elbow. 2009; 4 (2):49-55.

DOI: 10.1007/s11751-009-0064-1

License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Published Online: 01-12-2019

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2009; The Author(s).


Chronic dislocation of the elbow is an exceedingly disabling condition associated with severe instability, limitation of elbow function and significant pain. Due to the potentially conflicting goals of restoring elbow stability and regaining a satisfactory arc of motion, successful treatment is a challenge for the experienced trauma surgeon. We report our treatment strategy in three patients suffering from chronically unreduced fracture-dislocations of the elbow. The treatment protocol consists of in situ neurolysis of the ulnar nerve, distraction and reduction of the joint using unilateral hinged external fixation and repair of the osseous stabilizers. A stable elbow was achieved in all patients, without the need of reconstruction of the collateral ligaments. At final follow-up, the average extension/flexion arc of motion was 107° (range, from 100° to 110°). The average MEPI score at follow-up was 93, and the average DASH score was 19. This is a promising treatment protocol for the treatment of chronically unreduced complex elbow dislocations to restore elbow stability and regain an excellent functional outcome.

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