Olecranon Fractures

  • Dominique M. RouleauEmail author


Olecranon fractures are very common and, in most cases, require surgery, using either tension band or plate fixation. Studies comparing both methods have failed to show any significant clinical difference, and tension band fixation remains a cost-effective treatment option for simple fractures. However, it must be performed according to proper fixation methods, which is more difficult than it appears to be at first glance.

Indeed, each fragment should be fixed in the case of an olecranon fracture to recreate a stable and mobile elbow. Tension band surgical fixation, using K-wires and metallic wires, is a good surgical option in cases of simple transverse fractures, without elbow instability or dislocation. In order to accomplish this technique, the surgeon requires lateral decubitus positioning, safe surgical approach, anatomic reduction of each fragment with independent small threaded wires, and tension band fixation of the tricipital fragment. Complex fractures and fracture dislocations are preferably treated with a designated periarticular locking plate.

This chapter will present a descriptive classification of olecranon fractures, clarify the indication for tension band in olecranon fractures with illustrative cases, and review surgical tips to increase the solidity of olecranon tension bands, based on biomechanical and clinical studies.


Olecranon Fracture Tension band Proximal ulna 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryHôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, Université de MontréalMontréalCanada

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