Skip to main content

01.04.2015 | Clinical Research | Ausgabe 4/2015

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® 4/2015

Good Functional Recovery of Complex Elbow Dislocations Treated With Hinged External Fixation: A Multicenter Prospective Study

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® > Ausgabe 4/2015
MD Gijs I. T. Iordens, PhD Dennis Den Hartog, PhD Esther M. M. Van Lieshout, PhD Wim E. Tuinebreijer, PhD Jeroen De Haan, PhD Peter Patka, PhD Michael H. J. Verhofstad, PhD Niels W. L. Schep, Dutch Elbow Collaborative
Wichtige Hinweise
The institution of one or more of the authors (GITI, DDH, EMMVL, PP, MHJV) has received, during the study period, funding from the Osteosynthesis and Trauma Care (OTC) Foundation (Zuchwil, Switzerland) (No. 2009-NSPP) and from Orthofix SRL (Bussolengo, Italy).
All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research ® editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.
Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the human protocol for this investigation, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.
Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research ® neither advocates nor endorses the use of any treatment, drug, or device. Readers are encouraged to always seek additional information, including FDA-approval status, of any drug or device prior to clinical use.
Dutch Elbow Collaborative: M. W. G. A. Bronkhorst (Bronovo Hospital, Den Haag, The Netherlands), M. R. De Vries (Reinier de Graaf Groep, Delft, The Netherlands), J. C. Goslings (AMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), S. J. Rhemrev (MC Haaglanden, Den Haag, The Netherlands), G. R. Roukema (Maasstad Ziekenhuis, Rotterdam, The Netherlands), H. G. W. M. Van der Meulen Haga Ziekenhuis, Den Haag, The Netherlands), E. J. M. M. Verleisdonk (Diakonessenhuis, Utrecht, The Netherlands), J. P. A. M. Vroemen (Amphia Ziekenhuis, Breda, The Netherlands), Ph. Wittich (St. Antonius Ziekenhuis, Nieuwegein, The Netherlands).
A comment to this article is available at http://​dx.​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11999-014-4050-7.



After a complex dislocation, some elbows remain unstable after closed reduction or fracture treatment. Function after treatment with a hinged external fixator theoretically allows collateral ligaments to heal without surgical reconstruction. However, there is a lack of prospective studies that assess functional outcome, pain, and ROM.


We asked: (1) In complex elbow fracture-dislocations, does treatment with a hinged external fixator result in reduction of disability and pain, and in improvement in ROM, function, and quality of life? (2) Does delayed treatment (7 days or later) have a negative effect on ROM after 1 year? (3) What are the complications seen after external fixator treatment?


During a 2-year period, 11 centers recruited 27 patients 18 years or older who were included and evaluated at 2 and 6 weeks and at 3, 6, and 12 months after surgery as part of this prospective case series. During the study period, the participating centers agreed on general indications for use of the hinged external fixator, which included persistent instability after closed reduction alone or closed reduction combined with surgical treatment of associated fracture(s), when indicated. Functional outcome was evaluated using the Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (QuickDASH; primary outcome) score, the Mayo Elbow Performance Index (MEPI), the Oxford Elbow Score, and the level of pain (VAS). ROM, adverse events, secondary interventions, and radiographs also were evaluated. A total of 26 of the 27 patients (96%) were available for followup at 1 year.


All functional and pain scores improved. The median QuickDASH score decreased from 30 (25th–75th percentiles [P25–P75], 23–40) at 6 weeks to 7 (P25–P75, 2–12) at 1 year with a median difference of −25 (p < 0.001). The median MEPI score increased from 80 (P25–P75, 64–85) at 6 weeks to 100 (P25–P75, 85–100) at 1 year with a median difference of 15 (p < 0.001). The median Oxford Elbow Score increased from 60 (P25–P75, 44–68) at 6 weeks to 90 (P25–P75, 73–96) at 1 year with a median difference of 29 (p < 0.001). The median VAS decreased from 2.8 (P25–P75, 1.0–5.0) at 2 weeks to 0.5 (P25–P75, 0.0–1.9) at 1 year with a median difference of −2.1 (p = 0.001). ROM also improved. The median flexion-extension arc improved from 50° (P25–P75, 33°–80°) at 2 weeks to 118° (P25–P75, 105°–138°) at 1 year with a median difference of 63° (p < 0.001). Similarly, the median pronation-supination arc improved from 90° (P25–P75, 63°–124°) to 160° (P25–P75, 138°–170°) with a median difference of 75° (p < 0.001). At 1 year, the median residual deficit compared with the uninjured side was 30° (P25–P75, 5°–35°) for the flexion-extension arc, and 3° (P25–P75, 0°–25°) for the pronation-supination arc. Ten patients (37%) experienced a fixator-related complication, and seven patients required secondary surgery (26%). One patient reported recurrent instability.


A hinged external elbow fixator provides enough stability to start early mobilization after an acute complex elbow dislocation and residual instability. This was reflected in good functional outcome scores and only slight disability despite a relatively high complication rate.

Level of Evidence

Level IV, therapeutic study.

Bitte loggen Sie sich ein, um Zugang zu diesem Inhalt zu erhalten

e.Med Interdisziplinär

Mit e.Med Interdisziplinär erhalten Sie Zugang zu allen CME-Fortbildungen und Fachzeitschriften auf Zusätzlich können Sie eine Zeitschrift Ihrer Wahl in gedruckter Form beziehen – ohne Aufpreis.

Jetzt e.Med zum Sonderpreis bestellen!

Weitere Produktempfehlungen anzeigen
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 4/2015

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research® 4/2015 Zur Ausgabe
  1. Sie können e.Med Orthopädie & Unfallchirurgie 14 Tage kostenlos testen (keine Print-Zeitschrift enthalten). Der Test läuft automatisch und formlos aus. Es kann nur einmal getestet werden.


Neu im Fachgebiet Orthopädie und Unfallchirurgie

Mail Icon II Newsletter

Bestellen Sie unseren kostenlosen Newsletter Update Orthopädie und Unfallchirurgie und bleiben Sie gut informiert – ganz bequem per eMail.