Scientific Articles   |    
Nonoperative Management of Displaced Olecranon Fractures in Low-Demand Elderly Patients
Andrew D. Duckworth, MSc, MRCSEd1; Kate E. Bugler, MRCSEd1; Nicholas D. Clement, MRCSEd1; Charles M. Court-Brown, MD, FRCSEd(Orth)1; Margaret M. McQueen, MD, FRCSEd(Orth)1
1 Edinburgh Orthopaedic Trauma Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 51 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4SU, Scotland. E-mail address for A.D. Duckworth: andrew.duckworth@yahoo.co.uk
View Disclosures and Other Information
  • Disclosure statement for author(s): PDF

Investigation performed at Edinburgh Orthopaedic Trauma Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland

Peer Review: This article was reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief and one Deputy Editor, and it underwent blinded review by two or more outside experts. It was also reviewed by an expert in methodology and statistics. The Deputy Editor reviewed each revision of the article, and it underwent a final review by the Editor-in-Chief prior to publication. Final corrections and clarifications occurred during one or more exchanges between the author(s) and copyeditors.

Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. None of the authors, or their institution(s), have had any financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with any entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. Also, no author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2014 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2014 Jan 01;96(1):67-72. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.01137
5 Recommendations (Recommend) | 3 Comments | Saved by 3 Users Save Case



The aim of this study was to document both the short and the long-term outcomes following primary nonoperative management of isolated displaced fractures of the olecranon.


We identified, from our prospective trauma database, all patients who had been managed nonoperatively for a displaced olecranon fracture over a thirteen-year period. Inclusion criteria included all isolated fractures of the olecranon with >2-mm displacement of the articular surface. The primary short-term outcome measure was the Broberg and Morrey Elbow Score. The primary long-term outcome measure was the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score.


There were forty-three patients with a mean age of seventy-six years (range, forty to ninety-eight years) in the study cohort. A low-energy fall from a standing height accounted for 84% of all injuries, and one or more comorbidities were documented in thirty-eight patients (88%). At a mean of four months (range, 1.5 to ten months) following injury, the mean Broberg and Morrey score was 83 points (range, 48 to 100 points), with 72% of the patients having an excellent or good short-term outcome. No patient underwent surgery for a symptomatic nonunion. At a mean of six years (range, two to fifteen years) postinjury, the mean DASH score was 2.9 points (range, 0 to 33.9 points) and the mean Oxford Elbow Score was 47 points (range, 42 to 48 points); 91% (twenty-one) of twenty-three patients available for follow-up expressed satisfaction with the result of the procedure.


We found satisfactory short-term and long-term outcomes following the nonoperative management of isolated displaced olecranon fractures in older, lower-demand patients.

Level of Evidence: 

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Figures in this Article
    Sign In to Your Personal ProfileSign In To Access Full Content
    Not a Subscriber?
    Get online access for 30 days for $35
    New to JBJS?
    Sign up for a full subscription to both the print and online editions
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities, to comment on public articles, or to sign up for alerts.
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities
    Have a subscription to the print edition?
    Current subscribers to The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery in either the print or quarterly DVD formats receive free online access to JBJS.org.
    Forgot your password?
    Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.

    Forgot your username or need assistance? Please contact customer service at subs@jbjs.org. If your access is provided
    by your institution, please contact you librarian or administrator for username and password information. Institutional
    administrators, to reset your institution's master username or password, please contact subs@jbjs.org


    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
    CME Activities Associated with This Article
    Submit a Comment
    Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
    Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discretion of JBJS editorial staff.

    * = Required Field
    (if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
    Example: John Doe

    Related Content
    The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
    JBJS Case Connector
    Topic Collections
    Related Audio and Videos
    Clinical Trials
    Readers of This Also Read...
    JBJS Jobs
    Connecticut - Yale University School of Medicine
    Oregon - The Center - Orthopedic and Neurosurgical Care and Research
    Illinois - Hinsdale Orthopaedics