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Tension band wiring fixation is associated with good functional outcome after olecranon fractures at a Togo Hospital

Anani A1, Akouété B3, Yaovi Edem J1, Ekoué D2, Atsi W1, Assang D1 Affi liation: 1-Department of Orthopaedics, Tokoin Teaching Hospital 2- Department of General Surgery, Tokoin Teaching Hospital 3- Surgical clinic of Lomé (CCL), Lomé / TOGO Correspondence: Docteur ABALO Anani, Post Code: 7 BP: 13607 Lomé / TOGO Fax : 00228 2226119 E-mail:



Background: Tension band wiring (TBW) is a widely accepted tech-nique for olecranon fractures. Various investigators have reported a significant rate of complications especially hardware prominence. The purpose of this study was to determine the clinical and radiological outcome after tension band wiring of olecranon fractures.


Methods: Sixty three patients (42 men and 21 women) were treated for fractures of the olecranon by TBW technique. Their mean age at the time of operation was 28 years (19 to 48). The mean follow-up period was 74.5 months (35 to 121). The overall outcome was evalu-ated using functional rating index described by Broberg and Morrey, the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) subjective pain score (10 = unbear-able pain) and patient satisfaction score (10 = complete satisfaction). Results: Wound infection developed in six patients (09.5%). No non-unions, malunion or ulnar nerve palsies complicated the postopera-tive period. Hardware removal was recorded in 45 patients (71.4%)    due to pin prominence, localized pain or direct complaint. Removal was not significantly affected by pin position (p = 0.201). Elbow pain persisted in 12 patients. Four patients (06.3%) had significantly reduced flexion arcs affecting the functional outcome. None of the patients had objective evidence of instability of the elbow.


The mean range of elbow flexion, pronation and supination was 135°, 70° and 79° respectively. 29 patients (46%) had an excellent functional result while four (6.4%) had poor result. The poor results were significantly associated with fracture type (p = 0.001) and the duration of immobilization (p = 0.003). The average satisfaction rat-ing was 9.1 out of 10 (range, 5–10).


Conclusion: Tension band wiring fixation for isolated olecranon fractures leads to good elbow function and minimal loss of physical capacity.