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Injury. 2007 Nov;38(11):1254-8. Epub 2007 Jul 20.

Simple elbow dislocation among adults: a comparative study of two different methods of treatment.

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  • 1Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XW, UK.


Post-manipulation treatment of elbow dislocation includes plaster of Paris immobilisation for a mean of 2 weeks followed by physiotherapy, or sling support followed by early mobilisation. This study retrospectively reviewed 42 simple elbow dislocations. The management of 20 patients by the plaster of Paris method and 22 by the sling method was assessed after a minimum follow-up of 2 years using Mayo Elbow Performance Index (MEPI) scores, the Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaire and time off work. The final functional outcome in the plaster of Paris group showed 10 excellent, 2 good, 5 fair and 3 poor results, compared with 19 excellent, 1 good and 2 fair results in the sling group. The mean times to return to work in plaster of Paris group and sling group were 6.6 and 3.2 weeks, respectively (p<0.001). Early mobilisation did not result in redislocation or late instability of the elbow. Thus the final functional outcome of the sling and early mobilisation group was significantly better than in the plaster of Paris immobilisation group.

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