Stabilization of olecranon fractures by tension band wiring or plate osteosynthesis: a retrospective study of 41 cases

Fournet A, Boursier JF, Corbeau S, Decambron A, Viateau V, Fayolle P, Bedu AS, Leperlier D, Manassero M. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol. 2018 Jan; 31 (1): 53-61. .

OBJECTIVES: This article aimed to describe olecranon fracture in dogs and cats and their stabilization with tension band wiring or plate osteosynthesis, and to evaluate complications associated with each technique.

METHODS: Medical records of cats and dogs that had been surgically treated for olecranon fractures with either tension band wiring or plate osteosynthesis were retrospectively reviewed. The surgical technique, complications and long-term outcomes were assessed.

RESULTS: Forty-one olecranon fractures were included. Fractures were articular, comminuted and open in 90, 31 and 27% of cases, respectively. Tension band wiring and plate osteosynthesis were performed in 22 and 19 fractures, respectively. Complications occurred more commonly after tension band wiring (74%) compared with plate osteosynthesis (27%) (p = 0.002) and these were probably related to it being used in comminuted fractures (p = 0.01) or to errors in technique. Minor complications included Kirschner wires migration (n = 5), pain (n = 3), osteomyelitis (n = 3), skin breakdown (n = 3) and seroma (n = 1). Implant failure requiring further fixation (n = 4) was observed only in the tension band wiring group. Other major complications included skin wound debridement and closure (n = 1) and chronic lameness requiring implant removal (n = 7). Long-term functional outcomes were excellent regardless of the technique used.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Plate osteosynthesis should be performed for olecranon fracture repair if technically feasible.