The purpose of this study was to evaluate functional outcomes, range of motion (ROM), elbow stability, and time to return to full activities after acute and subacute arthroscopic repair of a simple elbow dislocation in high-demand patients.
“High-demand patients” were defined as in-season athletes and individuals who required use of both hands for their profession and believed that they could not miss the 6 weeks of work that may be required with conservative treatment in an elbow brace. We retrospectively reviewed 14 consecutive patients with a simple elbow dislocation who underwent arthroscopic repair of the radial ulnohumeral ligament from 2008-2012. Outcomes measures included the Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS), elbow ROM, elbow stability, and time to return to full activities. Each patient was contacted once by telephone to determine the current activity level and presence of any pain or functional limitations.
The mean patient age was 25 years, with telephone follow-up at a mean of 30 months and clinical examination after a minimum of 6 months. The postoperative MEPS was excellent (mean, 99.6; range, 95 to 100) for all 14 patients, and all returned to their preinjury level of function with no restrictions or instability. Final ROM averaged −3° of full extension to greater than 130° of flexion. The mean time to return to full activities in and out of a brace was 2.7 weeks and 6.6 weeks, respectively, in the acute group and 4.6 weeks and 8.9 weeks, respectively, in the subacute group. All patients were satisfied with their outcome.
Conservative management remains the gold standard for most simple elbow dislocations. We believe that certain high-demand patients may be candidates for acute arthroscopic ligamentous repair. Our preliminary data show that acute arthroscopic repair of the radial ulnohumeral ligament is a safe, effective procedure that restores stability to the elbow and allows patients to quickly return to full activities.
Level of Evidence
Level IV, therapeutic case series.
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Published online: May 01, 2014
Accepted: February 26, 2014
Received: August 29, 2013
The authors report the following potential conflict of interest or source of funding: M.J.O. receives support from Smith & Nephew, DePuy Mitek. F.H.S. receives support from Smith & Nephew, DePuy Mitek, Cayenne Medical, Rotation Medical, Exactech.
© 2014 Arthroscopy Association of North America. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.