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Olecrenon Strapping Surgery procedure

The elbow is a hinge joint. The olecrenon is the upper part of the ulna (a forearm bone) and is part of this hinge joint. Your olecrenon is broken. Your surgeons have recommended that you have your olecrenon fixed.

Type of Anesthesia During Olecrenon Strapping Surgery

An anesthetic will be given. This may be a general anesthetic (where you will be asleep) or a local blockage (that is, where you are awake, but the area to be operated on is completely numb). A sedation can be implied, it means medicine with which patient is relaxed and endures time of better operation. You should discuss this with the anesthesiologist.

A tight inflatable band (tourniquet) may be wrapped around your arm to limit the amount of bleeding. The skin is cleansed with antiseptic fluid and surgical drapes (towels) are placed around the elbow.

A cut (incision) is usually made in the back of the elbow. This allows access to the broken bone. When the bone is back in place (as close as possible to normal), the surgeon will try to hold them in place with 2 thin wires and a loop of wire. X-rays may be taken during the operation.

When the surgeon is happy with the fixation, the skin may close. This is usually done with surgical stitches (sutures). Sutures may be under the skin (these will dissolve over time) or over the skin (these should be removed in 10 to 14 days).

The arm is often placed in a mid-throw at the end of the operation. You should return a fortnight after the operation to allow the team to verify the wound.

Metalwork can be left on the arm. If it starts to become a problem (painful, comes off the skin, or becomes infected), the metal will be removed.

Recovery after operation

You may be advised to start moving your elbow at an early stage (sometimes a couple of weeks).

Keep in mind that a surgeon who is not the properly trained or supervised consultant can perform the operation for you.

Risks of Olecrenon Strapping Surgery (TBW)

As with all procedures, this carries some risks and complications.


  • Pain: The procedure hurts afterwards. It is important to discuss this with staff and ask for pain medication if necessary.
  • Scar: The operation will leave a thin scar on the back of the elbow. You can discuss the duration of this with the surgeon.
  • Wire rewind: The wires used to keep broken bones in place have a habit of "rewinding.


  • Infection: This may occur as redness, discharge, or temperature around the wound. A course of antibiotics may be necessary once the source has been isolated.
  • Thickened/keloid scar: these are scars that grow excessively within the margin of the wound and beyond, respectively).
  • Fat necrosis: this is also the cause of delayed wound healing.
  • Neurovascular Damage-There are many important nerves and blood vessels that pass through the elbow. These can be damaged during the operation.
  • Delayed wound healing: This can occur if the wound is stressed, infected, or has poor blood supply.
  • Bleeding: There will inevitably be some bleeding, but this is usually controlled at the time of the operation.
  • Delay/union: This can occur because the bone is damaged, the bone is of poor quality, or the bone is not properly placed.

Alternative Procedure

All broken bones can be left without an operation and can be treated by resting in a cast. However, they may not settle into the correct position or may not join together at all. Your surgeon believes that your fracture is severe enough to require an operation.

There are several ways to correct this type of fracture. This form suggests how it can be done, but you should discuss other techniques with your advisor.

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