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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2006 Nov-Dec;15(6):709-15. Epub 2006 Aug 7.

Open surgical treatment of post-traumatic elbow contractures in adolescent patients.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, USA.


The results of surgical treatment of post-traumatic elbow contractures in adolescence have been conflicting in the literature. Twelve adolescent patients (mean age 16.7 years, range 13-21) that had open release of post-traumatic elbow contractures were followed-up for a mean of 18.9 months (range 10-42 months). All releases were performed through a lateral approach (sparing the lateral ulnar collateral ligament) with anterior joint release (in twelve) supplemented by posterior release (in four patients). An additional medial approach was used in three patients. In three patients the radial head was excised. A mean gain of 54 degrees in the flexion-extension arc was observed at final follow-up and all patients achieved a functional ROM of at least 100 degrees. The patients maintained 93% of the motion that was achieved intraoperatively. No patient lost motion. Open release in adolescent patients with post-traumatic elbow contractures and no intarticular incongruence or erosion, yielded satisfactory results, similar to those achieved in adults.

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