Semiconstrained total elbow arthroplasty in the context of treated previous infection

Ken Yamaguchi, Robert A. Adams, Bernard F. Morrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Previous infection has been considered a strict contraindication to implantation or reimplantation of an elbow prosthesis. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether these patients can in fact be successfully treated with a prosthetic arthroplasty given previous treatment of the infection. Ten consecutive prosthetic arthroplasties performed in patients with documented infections in the elbow were ret-rospectively reviewed. Seven of the patients had infectious complications of total elbow arthroplasties that led to resection. Two patients had previous infections from septic joints and J from open reduction internal fixation. The median interval of time from infection treatment to final implant was 45 months (3.8 years). All arthroplasties were performed by the same surgeon with a modified Coonrad-Morrey, semiconstrained prosthesis. Patients were monitored for clinical signs of infection including radiographic and serologic studies and clinical evaluation based on the Mayo Elbow Performance Score. Mean surveillance was 4 years (range 2.8 to 5.4 years). Eight of the 10 cases have not shown signs of infection at the latest assessment. Two have had recurrent infections. The time interval from the original infection to latest implantation did not correlate with infection recurrence. Among those 8 without recurrent infection, 7 had excellent and 1 had satisfactory results according to the Mayo Elbow Performance Score. The recurrent infections were rated as failures. The average score was 32 before and 8 1 after surgery. The average pain score was 15 before surgery, and the average postoperative pain score was 40. Salvage of previously infected elbows with prosthetic arthroplasty can provide excellent results in a significant proportion of patients. Although the procedure offers superior functional outcomes compared with the alternative treatment options, it is technically demanding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-465
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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