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Analysis of results of surgical treatment of posttraumatic stiff elbow

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Author(s): Rex Chandrabose | Suresh Kumar P | Srimannarayana Addagalla | Chugh S | Ravichandran M | Harish D

Journal: Indian Journal of Orthopaedics
ISSN 0019-5413

Volume: 42;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 192;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Post traumatic stiff elbow | fractures around elbow | myositis ossification | dislocation elbow

ABSTRACT
Background: Surgical management of posttraumatic elbow stiffness has been reported with poor outcome following treatment. Sequential release in earlier stages of stiffness yielded much better results. The goal of our study was to assess the outcome in improvement of the range of motion of the elbow after surgical release and to analyze a tailor-made approach according to individual needs to yield good result. Materials and Methods: A prospective study was conducted in 47 cases of elbow stiffness due to various types of injuries. All the cases were treated with sequential release if there was no progress after adequate supervised conservative management except in unreduced dislocations. All the cases were followed up for a minimum period of 24 months. Overall outcome was rated with the functional scoring system by Mayo Clinic Performance Index. Results: Twenty-five (44.68%) out of 47 patients had excellent results with a mean preoperative range of motion of 33.9° and postoperative range of motion of 105° with net gain in range of motion of 71.1° (′ t ′ test value is 19.27, P < 0.01). None of the patients had elbow instability. Patients not having heterotopic ossification, who underwent surgery from three to six months post injury had a mean gain of 73.5°. In patients who waited for more than six months had mean gain of 66.8°. However, the results in cases having heterotopic ossification followed a slightly different pattern. In cases where release was performed from three months to six months had mean gain of 77.5°. Cases in which release was performed after six months had gain of 57.1°. Conclusions: In cases of posttraumatic elbow stiffness after a failed initial conservative treatment, early arthrolysis with sequential surgical soft tissue release yields good result than delayed surgery.
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