Effect of ulnar angulation and soft tissue sectioning on radial head stability in anterior Monteggia injuries: an in vitro biomechanical study
Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
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© 2019 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees Background: Radial head instability continues to be a challenge in the management of anterior Monteggia injuries; however, there is a paucity of literature on the factors that contribute to this instability. The aim of this biomechanical investigation was to examine the effects of ulnar angulation and soft tissue insufficiency on radial head stability in anterior Monteggia injuries. Methods: Six cadaveric arms were mounted in an elbow motion simulator. Radial head translation was measured during simulated active elbow flexion with the forearm supinated. After testing the elbows in the intact state, the ulna was osteotomized and tested at 0°, 10°, 20°, and 30° of extension angulation. To examine the effect of soft tissue insufficiency, the anterior radiocapitellar joint capsule, annular ligament, quadrate ligament, and the proximal and middle interosseous membrane (IOM) were sequentially sectioned. Results: There was a significant increase in anterior radial head translation with greater ulnar extension angulation. Sequential soft tissue sectioning also significantly increased anterior radial head translation. There was no increase in radial head translation with isolated sectioning of the anterior radiocapitellar joint capsule. Additional sectioning of the annular ligament and quadrate ligament slightly increased anterior radial head translation but did not reach statistical significance. Subsequent sectioning of the proximal and middle IOM resulted in significant increases in anterior radial head translation. Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that progressive ulnar extension angulation results in an incremental increase in anterior radial head translation in anterior Monteggia injuries. Moreover, increasing magnitudes of soft tissue disruption result in greater anterior radial head instability.