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Therapeutic Management of the Posttraumatic Stiff Elbow After Open Osteocapsular Release

Cancio, Jill M., OTD, OTR/L, CHT*; Rhee, Peter, DO, MS

Techniques in Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery: December 2018 - Volume 22 - Issue 4 - p 134–136
doi: 10.1097/BTH.0000000000000207
Beyond the Technique

Arthrofibrosis is an inevitable consequence of elbow trauma that oftentimes requires surgical release to restore range of motion and function. Although the surgical procedure for elbow osteocapsular release can result in marked improvement in elbow motion, postrelease rehabilitation is paramount to maintaining and even improving the gains achieved in surgery. There are a variety of rehabilitation protocols and modalities that can be implemented that can be divided into an early versus late stage of rehabilitation after surgery. Irrespectively, patient ownership in the rehabilitative process and effective communication between surgeon and therapist are integral in achieving successful outcomes.

*Military Performance Lab, Center for the Intrepid (CFI), Extremity Trauma and Amputation Center of Excellence (EACE), JBSA Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX

Division of Hand Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

The view(s) expressed herein are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of Brooke Army Medical Center, the US Army Medical Department, the US Army Office of the Surgeon General, the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the US Government.

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The authors report no conflicts of interest and no source of funding.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Peter Rhee, DO, MS, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905. E-mail:

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