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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2011 Dec;20(8):1310-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2010.11.031. Epub 2011 Mar 11.

The "anconeus slide": rotation flap for management of posterior wound complications about the elbow.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Stanford University Hospital and Clinics, Palo Alto, CA, USA.



Wound dehiscence at the tip of the olecranon is not an uncommon complication associated with surgical approaches to the elbow that involve a posterior skin incision. Various flaps have been described in the treatment of such soft tissue defects, but have associated morbidity. The "anconeus slide" rotation flap has low morbidity and is technically simple. In this study, we review the surgical technique and describe our experience with the anconeus rotation flap in 20 consecutive patients.


The records of 20 patients who underwent an anconeus rotation flap by a single surgeon, from September 2006 to March 2010 were reviewed. The procedure was performed in the setting of total elbow arthroplasty (TEA) in 12 patients, revision total elbow arthroplasty in 3 patients, wound complications in 4 patients, and for an acute open distal humerus fracture in 1 patient. Patients were evaluated postoperatively for wound healing, pain, and postoperative Mayo Elbow Performance Scores (MEPS).


All 20 patients healed their surgical wounds completely. Postoperative MEPS scores averaged 79.3 (range, 50-100).


The anconeus rotational flap is a technically simple, reliable, and safe option for treatment of posterior wound complications about the elbow, and in the setting of primary and revision TEA when wound healing is a clinical concern. We recommend its use in patients who have either compromised posterior soft tissue coverage, triceps insufficiency, or factors associated with the potential for compromised wound healing.

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