Failure of metal radial head replacement

R. P. Van Riet, J. Sanchez-Sotelo, B. F. Morrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


There is little information available at present regarding the mechanisms of failure of modern metallic radial head implants. Between 1998 and 2008, 44 consecutive patients (47 elbows) underwent removal of a failed metallic radial head replacement. In 13 patients (13 elbows) the initial operation had been undertaken within one week of a fracture of the radial head, at one to six weeks in seven patients (seven elbows) and more than six weeks (mean of 2.5 years (2 to 65 months)) in 22 patients (25 elbows). In the remaining two elbows the replacement was inserted for non-traumatic reasons. The most common indication for further surgery was painful loosening (31 elbows). Revision was undertaken for stiffness in 18 elbows, instability in nine, and deep infection in two. There were signs of over-lengthening of the radius in 11 elbows. Degenerative changes were found in all but one. Only three loose implants had been fixed with cement. Instability was not identified in any of the bipolar implants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-667
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series B
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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