Management of Mason Type-III Radial Head Fractures with a Titanium Prosthesis, Ligament Repair, and Early Mobilization
N. Ashwood, FRCS(Orth); Gregory I. Bain, FRACS; R. Unni, MS Orth

Abstract

Background: Radial head fractures often occur in association with other elbow fractures and soft-tissue injuries. Radial head replacement is indicated for irreparable radial head fractures associated with elbow instability. The purpose of this study was to analyze the results after treatment of such injuries with a titanium radial head prosthesis, repair of torn collateral ligaments, and early mobilization of the elbow.

Methods: Sixteen patients with sixteen Mason type-III radial head fractures and collateral ligament injury were treated with use of a titanium radial head prosthesis over a five-year period at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Modbury Public Hospital in South Australia. The surgery was performed acutely in ten patients and was delayed an average of thirty-seven days (range, fifteen to seventy-nine days) in six. All patients were followed clinically and radiographically for a mean of 2.8 years (range, 1.2 to 4.3 years).

Results: Eight patients had an excellent result; five, a good result; and three, a fair result, according to the Mayo Elbow Performance Score. The three fair results occurred in patients with delayed surgery. The mean flexion contracture was 15° (range, 0° to 42°), with an average loss of 10° (range, 0° to 25°) of full flexion compared with that of the contralateral elbow. Both pronation and supination decreased an average of 12° (range, 0° to 45°) compared with that of the contralateral forearm.

Conclusions: The results of treatment of Mason type-III radial head fractures with a monoblock titanium radial head prosthesis and soft-tissue reconstruction are satisfactory. Early mobilization of the elbow is important for the restoration of elbow range of motion and function.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic study, Level IV (case series [no, or historical, control group]). See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Footnotes

  • The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. 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 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Trauma, Royal Adelaide Hospital; the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Modbury Public Hospital; and the University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


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