We have reviewed 36 of 39 consecutive patients with an average age of 68 years who had semiconstrained elbow replacement for distal humeral nonunion at an average follow-up of 50.4 months (24 to 127). Of these, 31 (86%) had satisfactory results, three (8%) had fair, and two (6%) had poor results; 32 patients (88%)had moderate or severe pain before and 91% had no or only mild discomfort after the procedure. Motion had improved from a mean are of 29° to 103° before operation to 16° to 127° after surgery. All five flail extremities were stable at last assessment. There were seven complications (18%): two patients had deep infection, two had particulate synovitis, two had ulnar neuropathy and one had worn polyethylene bushes. Five of these seven, excluding the two with transient neuropathy, required reoperation (13%). Joint replacement arthroplasty can be a safe and reliable treatment for this difficult clinical condition, seen most commonly in elderly patients. This is a significant advance, since repeated osteosynthesis has been shown to be ineffective in most patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine