Journal of Orthopaedic Research Volume 38, Issue 3 p. 510-522

Elbow Biomechanics, Radiocapitellar Joint Pressure, and Interosseous Membrane Strain Before and After Radial Head Arthroplasty

Chalotte K. Hemmingsen Theis M. Thillemann Brian Elmengaard Sepp de Raedt Emil T. Nielsen Sebastian B. Mosegaard Kasper Stentz‐Olesen Maiken Stilling

Complex radial head fracture and elbow instability can be treated with radial head arthroplasty. Good clinical results have been described after this surgical treatment. However, the revision and complication rate reported in the literature is concerning. This might be due to altered kinematics after radial head arthroplasty. Eight human native elbows were examined with dynamic radiostereometric analysis and compared with a radial head arthroplasty. Translations of the radial head in the x‐, y‐, and z‐directions relative to the humerus and the ulna were measured. The radiocapitellar joint pressure was measured using a pressure sensor. The tension within the interosseous membrane was measured using a custom‐made strain gauge. After radial head arthroplasty, the radial head was displaced approximately 1.8  mm medially and 1.4  mm distally at the starting point. During unloaded flexion motion the difference in all translations between the native radial head and the radial head arthroplasty was less than 1 mm (95% confidence interval [CI]  ±  0.5 mm) (p = 0.001). With loading the difference was less than 1.5  mm (95% CI  ± 1.5  mm) (p = 0.001). The mean difference in radiocapitellar joint contact pressure was less than 0.30 MPa (95% CI ± 0.40 MPa) (p = 0.001) during unloaded flexion motion. There were only submillimetre kinematic changes and small changes in joint pressure and interosseous membrane tension after the insertion of a radial head arthroplasty in an experimental setting. © 2019 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 38:510–522, 2020

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