[Case-control study on the operative treatment for terrible triad of the elbow].Zhongguo Gu Shang. 2014 Jan; 27(1):41-5.ZG
To retrospectively analyze therapy comparison between hinged external fixator combining with internal fixation, soft tissue repair and plaster fixation after routine surgery for terrible triad of the elbow.
From January 2003 to June 2011,26 patients with terrible triad of the elbow (posterior dislocation associated with fracture of both the radial head and the ulnar coronoid process) were treated respectively by unilateral hinged external fixator and plaster fixation. Fourteen patients were treated with external fixator combining with internal fixation, soft tissue repair and reconstruction, including 8 males and 6 females,ranging in age from 20 to 62 years with an average of (33.60 +/- 8.53) years. The mean time of fixation was 7.5 weeks (ranged, 6 to 8 weeks), and forearm rotation exercise was performed after the first day of operation, elbow flexion and extension activities after 4 to 6 days. Twelve patients were treated with plaster external fixation combining with open reduction and internal fixation,including 8 males and 4 females,ranging in age from 21 to 63 years with an average of (34.80 +/- 7.41) years. The mean time of plaster fixation was 30.4 days, and functional exercise was carried out after 4 to 6 weeks of plaster removal. JOA assessment score were used to evaluate the elbow joint function.
All the patients were followed up, and the duration ranged from 12 to 36 months,with an average of 18.6 months. The mean time of fracture healing was (8.6 +/- 3.1) weeks in plaster group and (9.0 +/- 2.7) weeks in fixator group, with no statistical difference between the two groups (t =1.47, P > 0.05). The function and are of motion in plaster group and fixator group showed significant difference. While the pain, articular instability and deformity showed no statistical difference. The total assessment score between two groups indicated markedly difference (t = -2.66, P < 0.01).
Hinged external fixator can enhance lateral stability of elbows,benefit the reduction of fracture dislocation, guarantee early and safe functional exercise, prevent elbow stiffness, and reduce heterotopic ossification. In treating terrible triad of the elbow, the hinged external fixator is superior to other therapies with respect of improving the function of elbow joint.