Published: 2017-04-25

Functional outcome of radial head replacement in isolated radial head fractures

Rahul Kadam, Chinmoy Sharma, Santosh Pandhare, Abhay Chhallani, Abhishek Gupta, Ritesh Sawant


Background: Proximal radial fractures are common type of fracture around the elbow joint. These commonly occur after an episode of fall on the outstretched arm. These fractures can occur in isolation or with other associated injuries. Among these comminuted radial head fractures are commonly associated with secondary injuries and instability of the elbow joint. Management of the radial head in such cases is very important in restoring stability of the elbow joint and starting early mobilization. This study will assess functional outcome of radial head replacement in isolated radial head fractures using Mayo elbow performance score.

Methods: Over a period of 24 months a total of 18 patients (male 12 and female 6) with isolated radial head fractures were included in the study. All of these patients had MASON type III fractures or above. Radial head replacement arthroplasty was done for irreparable radial head fractures and early mobilization was started. Functional outcome was calculated postoperatively with help of the Mayo elbow score on follow-up at 1, 3 and 6 month interval.

Results: On the basis of Mayo elbow performance scores, 13 patients had excellent results; 3 had good results; and 2 had fair results. Mean Mayo elbow score was 88.33 (SD 11.11) after 6 month follow up. None of the patients had elbow instability after radial head replacement.

Conclusions: Treatment of irreparable radial head fractures with radial head prosthesis along with soft-tissue reconstruction shows satisfactory results. Early mobilization of the elbow after operation is the key for restoration of elbow range of motion and function.


Radial head fracture, Radial head replacement, Mayo elbow performance scores

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