Delayed treatment of elbow pain and dysfunction following Essex-Lopresti injury with metallic radial head replacement: A case series

Andras Heijink, Bernard F. Morrey, Roger P. van Riet, Shawn W. O'Driscoll, William P. Cooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: Chronic longitudinal radioulnar dissociation has been associated with unpredictable and generally unfavorable outcomes. Metallic radial head replacement may address this treatment deficiency. Methods: Eight patients were treated with a metallic radial head replacement for chronic longitudinal radioulnar dissociation. The average treatment delay was 3.3 years. All eight patients were seen for a clinical and radiographic assessment. Results: Five of the 8 failed after a mean of 3 years (range, 1-5.7). Revision to bipolar metallic radial head replacement was successful in the short term in 2 of 3 that failed from aseptic loosening. One of 2 failures due to painful radiocapitellar arthritis was salvaged with a capitellar replacement. Discussion: Reconstruction for symptoms following an Essex-Lopresti injury remains problematic. A metalic radial head implant appears to be an effective adjunct, but not a perfect solution in all patients. Recognition of the negative impact of residual lateral ulnar collateral ligament laxity is an important observation and should be specifically addressed with the reconstructive procedure. Conclusion: Metallic monoblock radial head replacement did not reliably address the functional deficiency from chronic radioulnar dissociation primarily due to malalignment and implant loosening. A cemented bipolar radial head implant may provide a better alternative as a long-term solution. Regardless, ligamentous integrity at the elbow should also be addressed at the time of the reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-936
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of shoulder and elbow surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Case Series
  • Elbow
  • Essex-Lopresti
  • Level IV
  • Metallic
  • Radial head replacement
  • Treatment Study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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