Case Study: Terrible Triad Right Elbow Fracture Dislocation

Case Study: Terrible Triad Right Elbow Fracture Dislocation

Patricia came in with a terrible triad right elbow fracture dislocation. She was in significant pain, was unable to use her arm and was worried that she would never be able to get back to her normal life.

At the time of surgery she had significant instability of the elbow after her fractures were fixed. This is a difficult problem to treat when all the ligaments are torn.

Historically this is treated with a hinged external fixator (which is like a cage built around the elbow with pins coming out of the skin to hold it together) or a temporary pin crossing the joint. These two treatments have been met with high complication rates and significant stiffness, respectively.

triad right elbow fracture dislocation

Dr. Daniel Lygrisse, with advanced techniques in elbow surgery was able to effectively treat Patricia’s condition with a new device called an Internal Joint Stabilizer (IJS) and return her to a 100% functional status and a range of motion comparable to her uninjured side. Patricia was allowed to move her elbow and remove her splint postop week 1, and started strengthening post op week 6.

Internal Joint Stabilizer (IJS)

Like many patients with this type of injury, Patricia developed a significant amount of heterotopic ossification (HO). This occurs when soft tissue turns into bone due to the intense inflammation produced from the initial injury as well as the trauma associated with surgery.

Patricia had significantly decreased range of motion and required surgical intervention to remove this extra bone. Because her elbow was stable the IJS was removed at this time as well.

heterotopic ossification

Patricia is back to doing what she loves and is very pleased with the function of her arm. This is an amazing improvement on previous treatment modalities and is available here at the Decatur Orthopedic Center.

Triad Right Elbow Fracture Post-Op
Shoulder Replacement