, Volume 98, Issue 1 Supplement, pp 77-85
Date: 23 Mar 2014

Factors affecting choice of open surgical techniques in elbow stiffness

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access



We analyzed the clinical outcomes of stiff elbow open treatment to assess factors affecting the choice of surgical procedures in a consecutive series of patients followed up prospectively.

Materials and methods

Forty-one patients, mean aged 48 years, were evaluated. Elbow stiffness was caused by post-traumatic osteoarthritis in 32 patients, primary osteoarthritis in seven and rheumatoid arthritis in two. Stiffness was classified as mixed and extrinsic in 28 and 13 cases, respectively. Seventeen ulno-humeral arthroplasties (UHA), seven UHA with radiocapitellar replacement, six UHA with radial head replacement, ten total elbow replacement and one UHA with anconeus interposition were performed. Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS), modified-American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (m-ASES) and Q-DASH scores were used for the pre- and post-operative evaluation.


Mean follow-up was 25 months. The average increase in MEPS and m-ASES was 45 and 41, respectively. The average decrease in Q-DASH and the average increase in m-ASES pain were 43 and 21, respectively. The mean increase in flection, extension, pronation and supination was 29°, 25°, 18° and 17°, respectively. All the differences were statistically significant.


Strictly customized open surgery of elbow stiffness, by taking into account the clinical value of each patient’s pathoanatomical conditions, yields satisfactory functional results in majority of cases. In particular, the degree and site of elbow cartilage wear proved to be the factors affecting the choice of treatment most. Treatment should be aimed at removing the causes of pain and at recovering range of motion.