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Trephine biopsy versus conventional open surgical technique for bone graft harvesting from the olecranon A retrospective comparison of perioperative outcomes


Objective: This study aimed to compare the perioperative clinical outcomes of trephine biopsy (TB) with the conventional open surgical method (COSM) in bone graft harvesting from the olecranon.

Methods: In this retrospective study, 130 patients who underwent bone graft harvesting from the olecranon using either TB or COSM were included. Patients were then divided into two groups: the COSM group (48 patients; 36 men and 12 women; mean age=32 years; age range=18-52) and the TB group (82 patients; 61 men and 21 women; mean age=34 years; age range=20-62). The mean follow-up was 30 months (range=17-57) in the COSM group and 26.8 months (range=6-48 months) in the TB groups. The two groups were compared in terms of pain intensity, operating time, complication rate, elbow range of motion, and the scar sensitivity of the graft donor site. Pain intensity was measured using the visual analogous scale (VAS) on postoperative days 1 and 15. Other outcome measures were evaluated at the final follow-up.

Results: In the TB group, the mean VAS score was 4±1.62 on postoperative day 1 and 1.6±0.76 on postoperative day 15. In the COSM group, the mean VAS score was 7.2±1.38 on postoperative day 1 and 3.1±1.34 on postoperative day 15. The early VAS scores were significantly higher in the COSM group than in the TB group (p<0.05). The mean operating time was 7±1.99 minutes in the TB group and 20±4.51 minutes in the COSM group. Hematoma occurred in one patient from each group, with an incidence of 2.1% in the COSM group and 1.2% in the TB group. There was no significant difference between the two groups regarding elbow range of motion at final follow-up p>0.05). No patient in the TB group showed sensitivity of the scar region, while scar sensitivity occurred in 3 of 48 patients (0.6%) in the COSM group.

Conclusion: Compared with COSM, TB seems to be a safe technique with similar complication rates. TB can provide shorter operating time, less postoperative pain, and smaller and less sensitive scar compared with COSM.

Level of Evidence: Level IV, Therapeutic study