Olecranon fractures: Factors influencing re-operation

Mark Christopher Snoddy, Maximilian Frank Lang, Thomas J. An, Phillip Michael Mitchell, William Jeffrey Grantham, Benjamin Scoot Hooe, Harrison Ford Kay, Ritwik Bhatia, Rachel V. Thakore, Jason Michael Evans, William Todd Obremskey, Manish Kumar Sethi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Purpose: We evaluated factors influencing re-operation in tension band and plating of isolated olecranon fractures. Methods: Four hundred eighty-nine patients with isolated olecranon fractures who underwent tension band (TB) or open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) from 2003 to 2013 were identified at an urban level 1 trauma centre. Medical records were reviewed for patient information and complications, including infection, nonunion, malunion, loss of function or hardware complication requiring an unplanned surgical intervention. Electronic radiographs of these patients were reviewed to identify Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA) fracture classification and patients who underwent TB or ORIF. Results: One hundred seventy-seven patients met inclusion criteria of isolated olecranon fractures. TB was used for fixation in 43 patients and ORIF in 134. No statistical significance was found when comparing complication rates in open versus closed olecranon fractures. In a multivariate analysis, the key factor in outcome was method of fixation. Overall, there were higher rates of infection and hardware removal in the TB compared with the ORIF group. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that the dominant factor driving re-operation in isolated olecranon fractures is type of fixation. When controlling for all variables, there is an increased chance of re-operation in patients with TB fixation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1711-1716
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Orthopaedics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Fracture
  • Hardware removal
  • Olecranon
  • Plate fixation
  • Tension band

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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