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Total Elbow Arthroplasty with Use of a Nonconstrained Humeral Component Inserted without Cement in Patients Who Have Rheumatoid Arthritis*
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Investigation performed at Sagamihara National Hospital, Sagamihara City
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 1999 Sep 01;81(9):1268-80
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Background: Most total elbow prostheses that are currently in use require cement for fixation of each component. We developed a new (type-5) prosthesis that does not need cement for fixation.Methods: The humeral component is made of cobalt-chromium alloy, and its stem is porous-coated with a plasma spray of titanium alloy. There are two options for the ulnar component: an all-polyethylene type and a metal-backed type with a porous-coated stem. Forty-three elbows in thirty-seven patients who had rheumatoid arthritis were treated with total elbow replacement arthroplasty with use of the type-5 prosthesis. The humeral component was implanted without cement in all elbows, whereas the ulnar component was implanted without cement in eleven elbows and was fixed with cement in the remaining thirty-two. The elbows were followed for an average of three years and ten months (range, two years and six months to five years and six months).Results: The clinical results were assessed according to a modification of the Mayo Clinic Performance Index. At the time of the latest follow-up, the overall result was excellent for six elbows, good for thirty-one, and fair for six. All elbows had been rated as poor before the operation. There was almost complete relief of pain in twenty-nine elbows and mild or occasional pain in the remaining fourteen. Flexion increased markedly, from an average of 104 degrees preoperatively to an average of 133 degrees postoperatively; this difference was highly significant (p < 0.001, Student t test). In contrast, extension (flexion contracture) worsened slightly, from an average of 38 degrees preoperatively to an average of 42 degrees postoperatively; this difference was significant (p < 0.05).There was one postoperative dislocation of the elbow, and ectopic bone formed in another, with recurrence of ankylosis. Both elbows had a reoperation, and a good result eventually was obtained. There were no instances of postoperative infection or neuropathy of the ulnar nerve.Radiographically, there were no radiolucent lines at the bone-metal interface of any of the humeral or ulnar stems that had been implanted without cement, suggesting solid fixation by osseointegration.Conclusions: The results of total elbow arthroplasty with use of this prosthesis appear promising. There was a high rate of relief of pain as well as of restoration of adequate function in patients in whom the elbow was severely affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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