Olecranon Fracture Surgery


Olecranon Fracture Surgery repairs and sets the “pointy” part of the elbow that has been fractured or displaced.

What is it?

The olecranon is the “tip” or “point” of the elbow.  It is easily fractured if hit directly with a hard blow, or if a person falls directly on it.  A fracture can also occur if a person lands on an outstretched arm.  This causes the muscles in the arm to dislocate the olecranon from the ulna.  Surgery is performed to correct the placement of the olecranon and to eliminate any loose bone fragments.  If the fracture is open (bone cuts through the skin), surgery is necessary to remove any possible infection.

What should I do to prepare?

Preparing for any surgery can be stressful.  It is best to understand and talk with your doctor about what will happen during the surgery and what to expect after it is complete.  Having a family member or close friend with you the day of surgery can help alleviate some stress.  Scans and preoperative testing will be conducted to determine the best approach to fix and stabilize the fracture within the elbow.  A patient should not eat or drink after the midnight before surgery.  Rest and immobilization may be necessary post-surgery to help in the healing process.  This may require time off from work and other physical activities.

What happens during the process?

There are a few techniques and approaches to fixing an olecranon fracture.  The patient is put under general anesthesia, and the surgeon will make an incision on the back of the elbow.  The bone fragments will be put back into their proper positions and will be secured using screws, pins and wires, screws and plates, or sutures within the bones and tendons.  The particular approach used depends on the type and severity of the fracture.   The incision is typically closed with either staples or stitches and sometimes wrapped in gauze and stabilized.

What are the risks and possible complications?

Any surgery involving bones, muscles, or tendons will pose a risk for re-injury or injury to another part of the surrounding area.   Infections, bleeding, and numbness or tingling are possible with this surgery.   There is also the chance that there will be damage to blood vessels and nerves within the elbow.


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