Chronic, subacute, and chronic Monteggia fracture dislocations of the elbow are challenging problems. The literature generally recommends complex open reconstructive procedures. We present an alternative, minimally invasive, percutaneous method with external fixation.
This was a retrospective review of 4 cases presenting with chronic Monteggia lesions with anterior dislocation of the radial head.
Reduction of the radiocapitellar joint was successfully achieved in all patients after ulnar osteotomy and gradual correction using the Ilizarov external fixation. Open reduction or reconstruction of the radio-ulnar-capitellar joint and/or ligament was not undertaken. The patients were between 9 and 11 years of age at the time of injury. The time from injury to treatment was between 3 and 56 months. At follow-up of an average of 3.5 years (range, 2 to 6 y), all patients had full movement of the elbow and normal function of the forearm. Radiographically, all radial heads were well reduced and the ulnar osteotomy showed remodeling.
The technique is relatively simple and avoids the risks and technical challenges of open osteotomies, open reduction, and ligament reconstruction. Gradual reduction of the radial head with the aid of an external fixation is a safe and effective method of treatment for chronic Monteggia lesions.