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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 47  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 382-387

Sideswipe injuries around the elbow: Management and functional evaluation

1 Department of Orthopedics, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Plastic Surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Mrinal Sharma
Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5413.114923

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Introduction: Sideswipe injuries constitute a subgroup of complex elbow trauma. Almost all of these are high energy open injuries. There is no fixed protocol that is followed in the earlier studies. The injury pattern is grotesque and ill managed with poor functional outcome. We report the functional outcome in our series of patients who sustained sideswipe injuries. Materials and Methods: Thirty four patients presenting with sideswipe injuries around the elbow were managed and functional results evaluated. The patients were followed for 15-94 months (mean 74 months). 32 of these were males and two were females. The injuries were sustained between 8 years and 48 years age group (mean 30 years). The right side was affected in 20 and left side was injured in 14 patients. Road traffic accident was the cause in all patients. Principles of management followed were (1) debridement and stabilization of fractures, (2) vascular repair, (3) redebridement, (4) nerve repair and (5) soft tissue cover. An external fixator was used for fracture stabilization in 20 patients with open fractures. Internal fixation was used as a stabilization modality in 12 patients. Primary nerve repair was carried out in 4 cases. In case of segmental loss, tendon transfers or nerve grafting was carried out at a later date once softtissue healing was complete. Soft tissue coverage was provided within 24-48 h of injury. Results were evaluated using the Mayo elbow performance score. Results: The average Mayo elbow performance score was 70. Excellent results (score > 90) in accordance with Mayo elbow score were seen in 30% of the patients. Good results (score 75-89) were seen in 33% of the patients. Conclusion: Sideswipe injuries should be managed timely, aggressively and an algorithmic protocol should be followed to achieve best results. The injury pattern is distinct for which a multispecialty approach is needed and an orthopedic, vascular and plastic surgeon must be involved. Limb salvage is possible in most cases.

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