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The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 106-B, Issue 2 | Pages 182 - 188
1 Feb 2024
Gallego JA Rotman D Watts AC


Acute and chronic injuries of the interosseus membrane can result in longitudinal instability of the forearm. Reconstruction of the central band of the interosseus membrane can help to restore biomechanical stability. Different methods have been used to reconstruct the central band, including tendon grafts, bone-ligament-bone grafts, and synthetic grafts. This Idea, Development, Exploration, Assessment, and Long-term (IDEAL) phase 1 study aims to review the clinical results of reconstruction using a synthetic braided cross-linked graft secured at either end with an Endobutton to restore the force balance between the bones of the forearm.


An independent retrospective review was conducted of a consecutive series of 21 patients with longitudinal instability injuries treated with anatomical central band reconstruction between February 2011 and July 2019. Patients with less than 12 months’ follow-up or who were treated acutely were excluded, leaving 18 patients in total. Preoperative clinical and radiological assessments were compared with prospectively gathered data using range of motion and the abbreviated version of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire (QuickDASH) functional outcome score.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 105-B, Issue 2 | Pages 112 - 123
1 Feb 2023
Duckworth AD Carter TH Chen MJ Gardner MJ Watts AC

Despite being one of the most common injuries around the elbow, the optimal treatment of olecranon fractures is far from established and stimulates debate among both general orthopaedic trauma surgeons and upper limb specialists. It is almost universally accepted that stable non-displaced fractures can be safely treated nonoperatively with minimal specialist input. Internal fixation is recommended for the vast majority of displaced fractures, with a range of techniques and implants to choose from. However, there is concern regarding the complication rates, largely related to symptomatic metalwork resulting in high rates of implant removal. As the number of elderly patients sustaining these injuries increases, we are becoming more aware of the issues associated with fixation in osteoporotic bone and the often fragile soft-tissue envelope in this group. Given this, there is evidence to support an increasing role for nonoperative management in this high-risk demographic group, even in those presenting with displaced and/or multifragmentary fracture patterns. This review summarizes the available literature to date, focusing predominantly on the management techniques and available implants for stable fractures of the olecranon. It also offers some insights into the potential avenues for future research, in the hope of addressing some of the pertinent questions that remain unanswered.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2023;105-B(2):112–123.


Olecranon fractures are usually caused by falling directly on to the olecranon or following a fall on to an outstretched arm. Displaced fractures of the olecranon with a stable ulnohumeral joint are commonly managed by open reduction and internal fixation. The current predominant method of management of simple displaced fractures with ulnohumeral stability (Mayo grade IIA) in the UK and internationally is a low-cost technique using tension band wiring. Suture or suture anchor techniques have been described with the aim of reducing the hardware related complications and reoperation. An all-suture technique has been developed to fix the fracture using strong synthetic sutures alone. The aim of this trial is to investigate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of tension suture repair versus traditional tension band wiring for the surgical fixation of Mayo grade IIA fractures of the olecranon.


SOFFT is a multicentre, pragmatic, two-arm parallel-group, non-inferiority, randomized controlled trial. Participants will be assigned 1:1 to receive either tension suture fixation or tension band wiring. 280 adult participants will be recruited. The primary outcome will be the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score at four months post-randomization. Secondary outcome measures include DASH (at 12, 18, and 24 months), pain, Net Promotor Score (patient satisfaction), EuroQol five-dimension five-level score (EQ-5D-5L), radiological union, complications, elbow range of motion, and re-operations related to the injury or to remove metalwork. An economic evaluation will assess the cost-effectiveness of treatments.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 104-B, Issue 10 | Pages 1148 - 1155
1 Oct 2022
Watts AC Hamoodi Z McDaid C Hewitt C


Arthroplasties of the elbow, including total elbow arthroplasty, radial head arthroplasty, distal humeral hemiarthroplasty, and radiocapitellar arthroplasty, are rarely undertaken. This scoping review aims to outline the current research in this area to inform the development of future research.


A scoping review was undertaken adhering to the Joanna Briggs Institute guidelines using Medline, Embase, CENTRAL, and trial registries, limited to studies published between 1 January 1990 and 7 February 2021. Endnote software was used for screening and selection, and included randomized trials, non-randomized controlled trials, prospective and retrospective cohort studies, case-control studies, analytical cross-sectional studies, and case series of ten or more patients reporting the clinical outcomes of elbow arthroplasty. The results are presented as the number of types of studies, sample size, length of follow-up, clinical outcome domains and instruments used, sources of funding, and a narrative review.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 102-B, Issue 8 | Pages 1041 - 1047
1 Aug 2020
Hamoodi Z Singh J Elvey MH Watts AC


The Wrightington classification system of fracture-dislocations of the elbow divides these injuries into six subtypes depending on the involvement of the coronoid and the radial head. The aim of this study was to assess the reliability and reproducibility of this classification system.


This was a blinded study using radiographs and CT scans of 48 consecutive patients managed according to the Wrightington classification system between 2010 and 2018. Four trauma and orthopaedic consultants, two post CCT fellows, and one speciality registrar based in the UK classified the injuries. The seven observers reviewed preoperative radiographs and CT scans twice, with a minimum four-week interval. Radiographs and CT scans were reviewed separately. Inter- and intraobserver reliability were calculated using Fleiss and Cohen kappa coefficients. The Landis and Koch criteria were used to interpret the strength of the kappa values. Validity was assessed by calculating the percentage agreement against intraoperative findings.

Bone & Joint 360
Vol. 6, Issue 6 | Pages 2 - 10
1 Dec 2017
Luokkala T Watts AC

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 99-B, Issue 5 | Pages 674 - 679
1 May 2017
Nuttall D Birch A Haines JF Watts AC Trail IA


Radiostereometric analysis (RSA) allows an extremely accurate measurement of early micromotion of components following arthroplasty.

Patients and Methods

In this study, RSA was used to measure the migration of 11 partially cemented fluted pegged glenoid components in patients with osteoarthritis who underwent total shoulder arthroplasty using an improved surgical technique (seven men, four women, mean age 68). Patients were evaluated clinically using the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) and Constant-Murley scores and by CT scans two years post-operatively.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 98-B, Issue 12 | Pages 1642 - 1647
1 Dec 2016
Badge R Kailash K Dickson DR Mahalingam S Raza A Birch A Nuttall D Murali SR Hayton MJ Talwalkar S Watts AC Trail IA


The aims of this study were to evaluate the clinical and radiological outcomes of the Universal-2 total wrist arthroplasty (TWA) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Patients and Methods

This was a retrospective review of all 95 Universal-2 TWAs which were performed in our institution between 2003 to 2012 in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. A total of six patients were lost to follow-up and two died of unrelated causes. A total of ten patients had bilateral procedures. Accordingly, 75 patients (85 TWAs) were included in the study. There were 59 women and 16 men with a mean age of 59 years (26 to 86). The mean follow-up was 53 months (24 to 120). Clinical assessment involved recording pain on a visual analogue score, range of movement, grip strength, the Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) and Wrightington wrist scores. Any adverse effects were documented with particular emphasis on residual pain, limitation of movement, infection, dislocation and the need for revision surgery.

Radiographic assessment was performed pre-operatively and at three, six and 12 months post-operatively, and annually thereafter. Arthroplasties were assessed for distal row intercarpal fusion and loosening. Radiolucent zones around the components were documented according to a system developed at our institution.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 94-B, Issue 11 | Pages 1448 - 1454
1 Nov 2012
Ng CY Watts AC

Bone loss involving articular surface is a challenging problem faced by the orthopaedic surgeon. In the hand and wrist, there are articular defects that are amenable to autograft reconstruction when primary fixation is not possible. In this article, the surgical techniques and clinical outcomes of articular reconstructions in the hand and wrist using non-vascularised osteochondral autografts are reviewed.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 94-B, Issue 6 | Pages 811 - 814
1 Jun 2012
Jenkins PJ Duckworth AD Watts AC McEachan JE

Diabetes mellitus is recognised as a risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome. The response to treatment is unclear, and may be poorer than in non-diabetic patients. Previous randomised studies of interventions for carpal tunnel syndrome have specifically excluded diabetic patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the epidemiology of carpal tunnel syndrome in diabetic patients, and compare the outcome of carpal tunnel decompression with non-diabetic patients. The primary endpoint was improvement in the QuickDASH score. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus was 11.3% (176 of 1564). Diabetic patients were more likely to have severe neurophysiological findings at presentation. Patients with diabetes had poorer QuickDASH scores at one year post-operatively (p = 0.028), although the mean difference was lower than the minimal clinically important difference for this score. After controlling for underlying differences in age and gender, there was no difference between groups in the magnitude of improvement after decompression (p = 0.481). Patients with diabetes mellitus can therefore be expected to enjoy a similar improvement in function.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 90-B, Issue 4 | Pages 484 - 487
1 Apr 2008
Watts AC Teoh K Evans T Beggs I Robb J Porter D

This study reports the experience of one treatment centre with routine surveillance MRI following excision of musculoskeletal sarcoma. The case notes, MRI and histology reports for 57 patients were reviewed. The primary outcome was local tumour recurrence detected on either surveillance MRI in asymptomatic patients, or interval MRI in patients with clinical concern. A total of 47 patients had a diagnosis of soft-tissue sarcoma and ten of a primary bone tumour. A total of 13 patients (22%) had local recurrence. Nine were identified on a surveillance scan, and four by interval scans. The cost of surveillance is estimated to be £4414 per recurrence detected if low-grade tumours with clear resection margins are excluded. Surveillance scanning has a role in the early detection of local recurrence of bone and soft-tissue sarcoma.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 89-B, Issue 4 | Pages 510 - 515
1 Apr 2007
Watts AC Morris A Robinson CM

Fractures of the distal humeral articular surface which do not involve the medial and lateral columns are often more extensive than is apparent from plain radiographs. This retrospective study describes the epidemiology of this injury using modern classification systems and compares pre-operative radiography with operative findings. The study group included 79 patients with a mean age of 47 years (13 to 91). The annual incidence was 1.5 per 100 000 population, and was highest in women over the age of 60. The majority of the fractures (59; 75%) were sustained in falls from standing height. Young males tended to sustain more high-energy injuries with more complex fracture patterns. In 24% of cases (19) there was a concomitant radial head fracture. Classification from plain radiographs often underestimates the true extent of the injury and computed tomography may be of benefit in pre-operative planning, especially in those over 60 years of age.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 88-B, Issue 1 | Pages 107 - 110
1 Jan 2006
Watts AC Howie CR Simpson AHRW

The risk of venous thromboembolism in patients following arthroplasty may be reduced by continuing chemical thromboprophylaxis for up to 35 days post-operatively. This prospective cohort study investigated the compliance of 40 consecutive consenting patients undergoing lower limb arthroplasty with self-administration of a recommended subcutaneous chemotherapeutic agent for six weeks after surgery. Compliance was assessed by examination of the patient for signs of injection, number of syringes used, and a self-report diary at the end of the six-week period. A total of 40 patients, 15 men and 25 women, were recruited. One woman was excluded because immediate post-operative complications prevented her participation. Self-administration was considered feasible in 87% of patients (95% confidence interval (CI) 76 to 98) at the time of discharge. Among this group of 34 patients, 29 (85%) were compliant (95% CI 73 to 97). Patients can learn to self-administer subcutaneous injections of thromboprophylaxis, and compliance with extended prophylaxis to six weeks is good.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 87-B, Issue 12 | Pages 1675 - 1680
1 Dec 2005
Howie C Hughes H Watts AC

This population-based study investigated the incidence and trends in venous thromboembolic disease after total hip and knee arthroplasty over a ten-year period. Death or readmission for venous thromboembolic disease up to two years after surgery for all patients in Scotland was the primary outcome. The incidence of venous thromboembolic disease, including fatal pulmonary embolism, three months after surgery was 2.27% for primary hip arthroplasty and 1.79% for total knee arthroplasty. The incidence of fatal pulmonary embolism within three months was 0.22% for total hip arthroplasty and 0.15% for total knee arthroplasty. The majority of events occurred after hospital discharge, with no apparent trend over the period. The data support current advice that prophylaxis should be continued for at least six weeks following surgery. Despite the increased use of policies for prophylaxis and earlier mobilisation, there has been no change in the incidence of venous thromboembolic disease.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 87-B, Issue 3 | Pages 296 - 300
1 Mar 2005
Watts AC Brenkel IJ

Despite increasing scientific investigation, the best method for preventing post-operative deep-vein thrombosis remains unclear. In the wake of the publication of the Pulmonary Embolism Prevention trial and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) on the prevention of thromboembolism, we felt that it was timely to survey current thromboprophylactic practices. Questionnaires were sent to all consultants on the register of the British Orthopaedic Association. The rate of response was 62%. The survey showed a dramatic change in practice towards the use of chemoprophylaxis since the review by Morris and Mitchell in 1976. We found that there was a greater uniformity of opinion and prescribing practices in Scotland, consistent with the SIGN guidelines, than in the rest of the UK. We argue in favour of the use of such documents which are based on a qualitative review of current scientific literature.