AIM: To evaluate short- to medium term outcome of total elbow arthroplasty (TEA) in complex fractures of the distal humerus. METHODS: A consecutive series of 24 complex distal humerus fractures operated with TEA in the period 2006-2012 was evaluated with the Mayo Elbow Performance score (MEPS), plain radiographs, complications and overall satisfaction. The indications for surgery were 1: AO type B3 or C3 or Sheffield type 3 fracture and age above 65 or 2: fracture and severe rheumatoid arthritis. Mean follow-up time was 21 mo. RESULTS: Twenty patients were followed up. Four patients, of which 3 had died, were lost to follow up. According to the AO classification there were 17 C3, 1 B2 and 2 A2 fractures. Mean follow-up was 21 months (range 4-54). Mean MEPS was 94 (range 65-100). Mean flexion was 114 degrees (range 80-140). According to MEPS there were 15 excellent, 4 good and 1 fair result. Patient satisfaction: 8 excellent, 10 good, 2 fair and 1 poor. There were two revisions due to infection treated successfully with revision and three months of antibiotics. In two patients the locking split had loosened. One was referred to re-insertion and one chose yearly controls. Two patients had persistent dysaesthesia of their 5th finger, but were able to discriminate between sharp and blunt. CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that TEA in complex fractures of the distal humerus in elderly patients can result in acceptable short- to medium term outcome.
World Journal of Orthopedics, 2014, Vol 5, Issue 3, p. 368-372