Long-term functional outcomes of the terrible triad of the elbow.

Copyright © 2018 Muñoz-Mahamud E et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

PDF: Long-term functional outcomes of the terrible triad of the elbow.


Introduction: The published literature regarding the terrible triad of the elbow has historically shown a high rate of unacceptable outcomes. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the long-term functional outcomes and repercussions in patients who suffered the terrible triad of the elbow.

Material and methods: A retrospective analysis of a prospectively-recruited consecutive series of cases registered from August 2005 to August 2009, involving 27 patients from which 16 complied with inclusion criteria for the study. The mean follow-up period was 8.6 years (range: 6.9 to 10.6). Two different final quality of life evaluation questionnaires were performed by telephone: the EuroQol Five Dimensions Questionnaire (EQ-5D) and the patient answered questionnaire portion of the Liverpool Elbow Score (PAQ-LES).

Results: Fifteen (93.7%) patients were intervened surgically whereas only 1 case was treated conservatively. EQ-5D-rated outcome averaged 0.87 (range: 0.36 to 1) and the PAQ-LES averaged 33.5 (range: 17 to 36). Five (31.2%) presented pain or discomfort, 4 (25.0%) had some kind of difficulties in their daily activity and 3 (18.7%) founded some limitations with their personal hygiene. Only 6 cases (37.5%) declared to be fully asymptomatic.

Conclusion: The terrible triad of the elbow remains a challenging injury that entails the presence of chronic pain and discomfort in almost one third of the cases at a long-term follow-up.