Revision total elbow arthroplasty with an allograft-prosthetic composite is a difficult salvage procedure due to massive bone loss and a compromised soft-tissue envelope. High failure rates in prior studies of patients treated with allograft-prosthetic composites and an increased burden of revision total elbow arthroplasties necessitate optimized reconstructive techniques to improve incorporation of allograft-prosthetic composites. The goal of this report is to describe novel techniques for, and outcomes of, reconstructions done with an allograft-prosthetic composite.Methods:
From 2003 through 2008, twenty-five patients underwent revision total elbow arthroplasty with an allograft-prosthetic composite in the humerus (six), ulna (eighteen), or both (one). Indications included aseptic implant loosening with a fracture or cortical breach (eleven), aseptic implant loosening without fracture (three), infection (seven), failed implants (one), bone loss after hemiarthroplasty (one), nonunion (one), and resection arthroplasty (one). Three reconstructive strategies were used: intussusception of the allograft-prosthesis-composite (Type I), strut-like coaptation (Type II), and side-to-side contact between the cortices of the allograft-prosthetic composite and the host bone (Type III). The outcomes that were examined included the Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS), radiographic union, and overall revision and complication rates.Results:
The mean MEPS improved from 30 points preoperatively to 84 points at the time of follow-up. Ninety-two percent of the allograft-prosthetic composites incorporated. There were eight major and four minor complications in nine patients, leading to nine reoperations in six patients. Complications included infection (three), fracture (three), nonunion (one), malunion (one), skin necrosis (one), triceps insufficiency/weakness (two), and ulnar nerve paresthesia (one). Four of the twenty-five patients had definitive resection arthroplasty, one had osteosynthesis, and one had a successful revision, so twenty-one (84%) of the twenty-five had a functional elbow. Five of seven infected joints were salvaged with staged allograft-prosthesis-composite procedures.Conclusions:
Larger graft-host contact areas in the three types of allograft-prosthetic composites provided good functional outcomes and a high rate of union compared with prior experience and resection arthroplasty. Allograft-prosthetic composites can be a safe, reliable option with an acceptable complication rate for revision total elbow arthroplasty.Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.