Between 1986 and 1994, 13 patients with mobile painful arthritic elbows were treated by distraction interposition arthroplasty using fascia lata. The mean period of follow-up was 63 months. An elbow distractor/fixator was applied for three to four weeks to separate the articular surfaces and to protect the fascial graft. Nine of the 13 patients (69%) had satisfactory relief from pain; eight (62%) had an excellent or good result by objective criteria of the Mayo Elbow Performance score. Four have required revision to total elbow arthroplasty at a mean of 30 months with good results to date. Instability of the elbow, both before and after surgery, was found to be associated with unsatisfactory results. The rate of success when the procedure was performed for inflammatory arthritis was similar to that for post-traumatic arthritis, about 67%. Eight complications occured in six patients, all in the group with post-traumatic arthritis. Two of these required further surgical procedures such as transposition of the ulnar nerve or repair of hernia of the fascia lata. Although less reliable than prosthetic replacement, distraction interposition arthroplasty is a useful option in the treatment of young, high-demand patients with arthritis of the elbow. It is rarely indicated in the presence of generalised inflammatory arthritis, but may be of value in those patients in whom the disease is limited primarily to the elbow.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine