Open surgical release for contractures of the elbow

Philipp N Streubel, Mark S. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

7 Scopus citations


Compared with arthroscopic release, open release is more commonly used for the treatment of stiff elbow. Flexion is recovered by releasing posterior tethering soft-tissue structures and by removing anterior impingement between the coronoid and/or radial head and the distal humerus. Extension is improved by releasing anterior soft-tissue tethers and by removing impingement between the olecranon tip and the olecranon fossa. Open elbow release is most commonly performed via ligament-sparing approaches. Ulnar nerve identification and transposition is recommended in the presence of nerve dysfunction or when correction of significant loss of elbow flexion is anticipated. Long-term improvement in flexion and extension can be expected with proper patient selection. Less predictable results are obtained in adolescent patients and in those with underlying traumatic brain injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-338
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 25 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Cite this