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K-wire position in tension-band wiring technique affects stability of wires and long-term outcome in surgical treatment of olecranon fractures

, : K-wire position in tension-band wiring technique affects stability of wires and long-term outcome in surgical treatment of olecranon fractures. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery 21(3): 405-411

Tension-band wiring (TBW) has been accepted as the treatment of choice for displaced olecranon fractures. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of K-wire position on instability of the K-wires in relation to local complications and radiological and clinical long-term outcome. We reviewed the early follow-up of 59 patients (mean age, 6 years) who underwent TBW osteosynthesis for displaced olecranon fractures. Follow-up information was available from medical records and radiographs. The main outcome measurements were proximal migration of the wires, gap, step, range of motion, and complications. Long-term follow-up included 21 patients (mean age, 58 years). Follow-up was available from a clinical visit and a radiograph. Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS), Disabilities of the Arm Shoulder and Hand (DASH), EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D), and Broberg and Morrey osteoarthritis scores were obtained. Seventy-eight percent of the patients treated with intramedullary K-wires were found to have instability of K-wires, compared to 36% in the patients treated with transcortical K-wires. Patients with instability of the K-wires tend to develop osteoarthritis more often. There is a better functional outcome in patients where the osteosynthetic material is removed. Instability of K-wires after TBW is more common after intramedullary placement of the wires resulting in proximal migration of the K-wires and gap appearance. There was a tendency of more osteoarthritis in the group of patients where instability of K-wires was identified. We would recommend the use of transcortical placed wires, as well as to have a low threshold in removing the implants.


PMID: 22036542

DOI: 10.1016/j.jse.2011.07.022

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