Comparison of all suture fixation with tension band wiring and plate fixation of the olecranon

Joideep Sunil Phadnis*, Alex Vaughan, Toni Luokkala, Jonathon Peters, Jay J. Watson, Adam Watts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Tension band wiring and plate fixation are common techniques used to stabilize simple olecranon fractures and osteotomies of the olecranon. All suture fixation is an alternative technique but has not been compared previously to these traditional methods. The aim of this study was to compare the clinical and radiographic outcomes of the three techniques. Methods: One hundred and sixty-eight consecutive Mayo type 1 and 2 olecranon fractures (n = 138) and olecranon osteotomies (n = 30) with a minimum follow-up time of one year were compared. The primary outcome measure was the rate of re-operation. Secondary outcome measures were the incidence of complications, rate of radiographic union and incidence of radiographic reduction loss. Results: Fixation was performed using tension band wiring in 89 patients, plating in 38 patients and suture fixation in 41 patients. There was no significant difference in the fracture type according to the Mayo classification between the groups. The re-operation rate was significantly higher in the tension band wiring group (36%) compared with both the plate group (11%, p = 0.03) and the suture group (2%, p = 0.002). There were two revision fixations in the tension band wiring group and one in the suture group. There was one asymptomatic non-union in the suture group. All other fractures and osteotomies achieved radiographic union. Conclusion: Suture fixation of simple olecranon fractures and osteotomies was reliable in providing stable union and had a significantly lower re-operation rate when compared with tension band wiring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-421
Number of pages8
JournalShoulder and Elbow
Issue number6
Early online date28 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


  • internal fixation
  • olecranon fracture
  • olecranon osteotomy
  • suture fixation
  • tension band wiring


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