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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2005 Feb;(431):26-35.

The posttraumatic stiff elbow.

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1
Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. morrey.bernard@mayo.edu

Abstract

The development of joint contracture is a well-recognized complication of elbow injury. Precise causes of the propensity of this joint for ankylosis are understood poorly. Yet, treatment is emerging and therefore the indications and willingness on the part of the surgeon to address this problem is improving. Limited open procedures have emerged during the past several years that are safe and effective by improving arcs of motion of 50-70 degrees in approximately 80-90% of patients. For severe injuries that involve the articular surface, interposition arthroplasty is less documented but has been shown to be effective but constitutes one of the most challenging technical procedures. Joint replacement arthroplasty generally should not be considered as a treatment for posttraumatic stiffness unless the patient is older than 65 years. The experience with this procedure indicates that with linked semiconstrained implants, approximately 80% of patients will achieve a near functional arc of motion. Arthroscopic intervention shows the greatest activity of investigation and clinical expansion. The learning curve is defined by a concern of complications to the neural structures and the fear of this complication has limited the application but the emerging documentation of the safeness of this option also has been associated with improved effectiveness. Therefore, arthroscopic intervention for the stiff elbow, particularly those with soft tissue extrinsic involvement, is emerging as the treatment of choice in many instances. The investigation regarding the medical treatment of altering the tendency of the soft tissue to go through such intense contracture is in its infancy but suggests that this could be a long-term solution at least for many patients.

PMID:
15685052
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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