BACKGROUND: Contact stresses of radial head prostheses remain a concern, potentially leading to early capitellar cartilage wear and erosion. In particular, point contact or edge loading could have a detrimental effect. The purpose of this study was to compare 3 different types of radial head prostheses in terms of joint contact areas with each other and with the native situation. The hypothesis was that the joint contact areas would be lower after monopolar arthroplasty.
METHODS: Seven fresh-frozen cadaveric upper limbs were used. Radiocapitellar contact areas of a monopolar design, a straight-neck bipolar design, and an angled-neck bipolar design were compared with each other and with the native joint. After standardized preparation, polysiloxane was injected into the loaded radiocapitellar joint to create a cast from which the joint contact area was measured. Measurements were performed at 3 angles of elbow flexion and in 3 different forearm positions.
RESULTS: In the native elbow, contact areas were highest in supination. Elbow flexion had no significant effect on native and prosthetic joint contact areas. Contact areas were decreased for all types of arthroplasties compared with the native joint (from 11% to 53%). No significant contact area difference was found between the 3 designs. However, bipolar prostheses showed lateral subluxation in neutral forearm rotation, resulting in a significant decrease in the contact areas from pronation to the neutral position.
CONCLUSIONS: All types of radial head prostheses tested showed a significant decrease in radiocapitellar contact area compared with the native joint. Bipolar designs led to subluxation of the radial head, further decreasing radiocapitellar contact.
Bibliographical noteCopyright © 2019 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Biomechanical Phenomena
- Elbow Joint/physiopathology
- Elbow Prosthesis
- Joint Dislocations/physiopathology
- Range of Motion, Articular/physiology