Treatment of fractures of the ulnar coronoid process.

Orthopaedic surgery

PubMedID: 22009874

Wang YH, Meng QB, Wu JD, Ma JC, Liu F. Treatment of fractures of the ulnar coronoid process. Orthop Surg. 2009;1(4):269-74.
OBJECTIVE
To discuss the classification, management and outcome of fractures of the ulnar coronoid process.

METHODS
Retrospective analysis was carried out in 31 patients (19 men and 12 women of average age 29.8 years [range, 18-52 years]) with fractures of the ulnar coronoid process. The fractures were classified into four major groups based on the extent of injury to the ulnar coronoid process, the state of the anterior bundle of the ulnar collateral ligaments (UCL) and elbow stability. A fracture of the coronoid process less than halfway up was defined as type I (eleven cases); of the middle of the coronoid process with injury of the UCL as type II (nine cases); of the base of coronoid process with dislocation of the elbow joint, sometimes with injury of the UCL, as type III (six cases); and severe comminuted fracture of the coronoid process with elbow instability as type IV (five cases). We chose treatment according to the type of injury.

RESULTS
Follow-up was 18-72 months (average 28.6 months). All patients achieved fracture union without inflammation, neural injuries or elbow instability. One type III and two type IV patients had traumatic osteoarthritis, and two type III and two type IV developed heterotopic ossification. There was a statistically significant difference between the ranges of movement of the two-side joints in type IV.

CONCLUSION
We choose conservative treatment for type I fractures unless the bone fragment affected movement of the elbow joint, in which case we chose operative treatment so that elbow stability was not affected. Type II and type III fractures with elbow instability were reduced by internal fixation and the ligament repaired or reconstructed. In type IV cases, bone reconstruction was necessary to recover elbow stability. Proper post-operative rehabilitation can decrease the occurrence of traumatic osteoarthritis.