Surgery to treat an olecranon fracture is usually necessary when:
The fracture is out of place (“displaced”). Because the triceps muscles attach to the olecranon to help straighten the elbow, it is important for the pieces to be put together so you can straighten your elbow.
The fracture is “open” (pieces of bone have cut the skin). Because the risk of infection is higher in an open fracture, the patient will receive antibiotics by vein (intravenous) in the emergency room, and may require a tetanus shot. The patient will promptly be taken to surgery so that the cuts can be thoroughly cleaned out. The bone will typically be fixed during the same surgery.
Surgery can be done under general anesthesia (going to sleep) or under regional anesthesia (using medicines like novocaine that numb the arm), or both.
The surgeon will typically make an incision over the back of the elbow and then put the pieces of bone back together. There are several ways to hold the pieces of bone in place. The surgeon may choose to use:
Plates and screws
Sutures (“stitches”) in the bone or tendons
If some of the bone is missing or crushed beyond repair (pieces of bone lost through a wound during an accident), the fracture may require bone filler. Bone filler can be bone supplied by the patient (typically taken from the pelvis) or bone from a bone bank (from a donor), or an artificial calcium-containing material.
The incision is typically closed with sutures or staples. Sometimes, a splint is placed on the arm, but not always.
““I believe that excellent outcomes can be achieved with clear communication and treatment plans that are tailored to the individual needs of the patient. I emphasize injury prevention and utilize a multidisciplinary team which includes highly trained physical therapists. Careful diagnostic evaluation, compassionate care, and application of current medical information and surgical technique are all important for returning patients to their pre-injury level of activity.”
Dr. Paul Abeyta is a board-certified, orthopedic and Sports Medicine surgeon treating patients at Peninsula Bone & Joint Clinic in Burlingame, California.
Tenex FAST Procedure
Tenex FAST Procedure
Tenex FAST procedure is an innovative procedure utilized by Dr. Paul Abeyta to address Tennis Elbow – Elbow Epicondylitis injuries and accelerate the treatment options available to patients.
Removes damaged tissue through a microincision and stimulates healing response. Uses gentle ultrasonic technology
Involves no general anesthesia or stitches. Local anesthetic (numbing medicine) only. Twenty minutes or less to perform. No need for physical therapy or additional treatments. Your individual results may vary.
Full return to normal activity in 6 weeks or less. Your individual results may vary.
Peninsula Bone & Joint Clinic
The Orthopaedic physicians at Peninsula Bone & Joint Clinic provide comprehensive services to all members of the family.