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Revision Total Elbow Arthroplasty for Prosthetic Fractures
George S. Athwal, MD, FRCSC1; Bernard F. Morrey, MD2
1 Hand and Upper Limb Centre, St. Joseph's Health Care, University of Western Ontario, 268 Grosvenor Street, Room L009, London, ON N6A 4L6, Canada
2 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street S.W., Rochester, MN 55905
View Disclosures and Other Information
The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research for or preparation of this manuscript. B.F.M. received royalties for the Coonrad-Morrey total elbow prosthesis. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2006 Sep 01;88(9):2017-2026. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.E.00878
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Background: Fractures of total elbow arthroplasty components are uncommon, and the literature provides little guidance regarding the management and outcomes of treatment of these complications. The goal of this report was to investigate the prevalence and management of fractures of ulnar and humeral components following total elbow arthroplasty and to review our experience with cement-within-cement reconstruction for revision following such fractures.

Methods: Between 1979 and 2003, twenty-four patients with a total of twenty-seven fractured total elbow arthroplasty components (seventeen ulnar and ten humeral) of different designs presented to our institution. Twenty-six implants underwent subsequent revision elbow arthroplasty at our institution. Fourteen of those revisions were done with a cement-within-cement technique, and twelve, with traditional methods. Twenty-one patients (twenty-three implants) were available for final follow-up, and data that had been acquired prospectively and entered into the institutional arthroplasty database were reviewed retrospectively. At the time of final follow-up, the Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS) was calculated and preoperative, postoperative, and most recent radiographs were examined for bone loss, bushing wear, and integrity of the bone-cement interface.

Results: The prevalences of humeral and ulnar component fracture following primary total elbow arthroplasties performed at our institution were 0.65% and 1.2%, respectively. At a mean of 5.1 years following revisions for those fractures, the MEPS was excellent for eight patients, good for five, fair for six, and poor for two. The average MEPS was 82 points following the revision total elbow arthroplasties done with the cement-within-cement technique and 78 points following the revisions done with the traditional method of cement removal and insertion of a revision component. Complications included seven intraoperative cortical perforations; five nerve injuries, two of which were permanent; three triceps avulsions; and one deep infection.

Conclusions: Implant fractures following total elbow arthroplasty are uncommon. They occur for several reasons, such as notch sensitivity, component design, and high stresses due to bone deficiency. Revision techniques, such as cement-within-cement reimplantation, are reliable for relieving pain and restoring function; however, the rate and spectrum of complications are a cause for concern.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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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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