Midterm Results of 58 Fractures of the Coronoid Process of the Ulna and their Concomitant Injuries

J Kiene*, 1, J Wäldchen1, A Paech1, Ch Jürgens2, A.P Schulz2
1 Clinic for Surgery of the Skeletal and Locomotor System, Department of Accident Surgery, University Medical Centre - Lübeck Site, Germany
2 Accident Hospital of the Occupational Insurance Association Hamburg, Clinic for Accident and Reconstructive Surgery, Germany

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© Kiene et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Lübeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, D-23562 Lübeck, Germany; Tel: +49-451-5006355; Fax: +49-451-5003647; E-mail:



In general, fractures of the coronoid process are rare and usually occur in combination with additional elbow joint injuries. The treatment of these injuries aims to regain a stable as well as a flexible and loadable joint. Although there is currently little evidence, therapy recommendations remain controversial. Therefore, the aim of this study was to prognostically determine relevant factors for therapy recommendation by analysing a representative patient population of two trans-regional trauma centres.

Material and Methods:

Seventy-seven patients with a fracture of the coronoid process were treated within an 8-year period (2001 to 2009). After an average of 48 months (SD 31), treatment outcome of 58 patients (75%) was acquired. The results were statistically analysed.


The average age of the patient was 51.8 years (SD 13.6); 36 were male and 34 had a fracture on the right arm. Applying the fracture types of the coronoid process in accordance with Regan/Morrey, the result was: Type I (19), II (17) and III (22). Further injuries were also detected: 40 radial head fractures, 17 proximal ulnar fractures and 2 fractures of the olecranon. A luxation was detected in 44 of the 58 patients (76%). The patients’ average MEPS (Mayo Elbow Performance Score) was 80.6 points (SD 18), with significant differences between the various therapy strategies. Fifteen% of the coronoid process fractures were reconstructable to a limited extent only by means of osteosynthesis. In 33% of the patients, instabilities remained. The average extension/flexion came to 107° (SD 28), and pronation and supination 153° (SD 38).


At present, a surgical therapy of ligamentary injuries cannot be statistically justified. A stable osseous reconstruction appears to make more sense. The strongest negative prognostic parameters in our patient population were: therapy with an external fixator, immobilisation for more than 21 days, the occurrence of complications and unstable osteosyntheses on the coronoid process.

Keywords: Elbow dislocation, fracture of processus coronoideus ulnae, osteosynthesis.