Review of management of unstable elbow fractures
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Stable and painless elbow motion is essential for activities of daily living. The elbow joint is the second most commonly dislocated joint in adults. The goals of treatment are to perform a stable fixation of all fractures, to achieve concentric and stable reduction of the elbow and to provide early motion. The treatment modality for complex elbow instability is almost always surgical. The treatment objectives are anatomic reduction, stable fixation, and early rehabilitation of the elbow. The common complications of these unstable fractures include recurrent instability, stiffness, myositis ossifications, heterotopic calcification, and neurovascular dysfunction. We analyzed the management of complex elbow fractures and instabilities on the basis of recent literature and suggested possible guidelines for the treatment in this paper. In conclusion, recognition of the injury pattern and restoration of the joint stability are the prerequisites for any successful treatment of an unstable elbow injury.