Arthroscopic Elbow Contracture Release in the Pediatric Patient

Steven M. Andelman, Amanda L. Walsh, Kristen M. Sochol, William M. Rubenstein, Michael R. Hausman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Elbow contracture is a sequelae of elbow trauma in pediatric patients. Arthroscopic contracture release has been shown to provide equivalent results to open contracture release with less associated morbidity and complications in the adult population. However, open contracture release is still commonly utilized in pediatric patients. The goal of this study is to determine the clinical results and safety profile of arthroscopic elbow contracture release in the pediatric population. Methods: A retrospective review of all patients 18 years of age and younger who underwent arthroscopic elbow contracture release was performed. Demographic statistics, indication for surgery, preoperative and postoperative flexion-extension and pronation-supination range of motion, and all complications were recorded and analyzed. Results: Twenty-five patients were identified as having undergone 29 arthroscopic elbow contracture releases. The most common index injury was elbow contracture after radial head fracture. The flexion-extension arc of motion improved from 93.0±39.9 degrees to 128.0±19.2 degrees for a total improvement of 35.2 degrees (P=0.0002), whereas the pronation-supination arc of motion improved from 141.0±58.6 degrees to 153±49.3 degrees for a total improvement of 12.2 degrees (P=0.097). There were 7 total complications. Conclusions: Arthroscopic elbow contracture release allows for restoration of range of motion with an acceptable safety profile and can be considered as a less invasive alternative to open contracture release in the pediatric population. Level of Evidence: Level IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e507-e513
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • arthrofibrosis
  • arthroscopic contracture release
  • arthroylsis
  • contracture release
  • elbow arthroscopy
  • elbow contracture
  • pediatric elbow


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