Outcomes after surgical treatment of missed Monteggia fractures in children

Giovanni L. Di Gennaro, Alessandro Martinelli, Camilla Bettuzzi, Diego Antonioli, Roberto Rotini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chronic dislocation of the radial head treatment in Monteggia fracture dislocation is still controversial. We present a large series of patients treated in our Institution. Materials and methods: The outcome of 22 children treated surgically between 1988 and 2011 for post-traumatic chronic radial head dislocation is reported. There were 12 girls and 10 boys with a mean age at surgery of 7.2 years (4.1–13.6). The mean interval between injury and treatment was 15.7 months (1–128). Nine patients underwent open reduction with removal of interposed tissue and repair (7) or Bell-Tawse reconstruction (2) of the annular ligament. Ten patients underwent osteotomy, gradual lengthening and angulation of the ulna by external fixation. Two patients underwent angular osteotomy of the proximal ulna with open wedge, open reduction in the radial head and reconstruction of the annular ligament. One patient admitted to the hospital 10 years after injury underwent radial head excision at 13.7 years of age. Results: After a mean follow-up of 5.5 years (1–24.3), the radial head stayed reduced in 15 patients and subluxated in 5. In one case, redislocation occurred. All patients but five were pain-free. The elbow performance score (Kim score) was excellent in 14 cases, good in four and fair in four, with a mean score of 91, corresponding to a good result. Complications included a transient posterior interosseus nerve palsy (1), and one non-union of the ulna. Discussion and conclusion: Chronic Monteggia lesions must be treated. The clinical outcomes are usually better than the congruency of the radiocapitellar joint. Level of evidence: IV (Case series with no comparison group).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalMusculoskeletal Surgery
Publication statusPublished - Sep 26 2015


  • Chronic radial head dislocation
  • External fixation
  • Monteggia fracture dislocation
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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