The role of biceps loading and muscle activation on radial head stability in anterior Monteggia injuries: An in vitro biomechanical study
Journal of Hand Therapy
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© 2020 Hanley & Belfus Introduction: Little evidence-based information is available to direct the optimal rehabilitation of patients with anterior Monteggia injuries. Purpose of the Study: The aims of this biomechanical investigation were to (1) quantify the effect of biceps loading and (2) to compare the effect of simulated active and passive elbow flexion on radial head stability in anterior Monteggia injuries. Study Design: In vitro biomechanical study. Methods: Six cadaveric arms were mounted in an elbow motion simulator. The effect of biceps loading, simulated active and passive elbow flexion motions was examined with application of 0N, 20N, 40N, 60N, 80N, and 100N of load. Simulated active and passive elbow flexion motions were then performed with the forearm supinated. Radial head translation relative to the capitellum was measured using an optical tracking system. After testing the intact elbows, the proximal ulna was osteotomized and realigned using a custom jig to simulate an anatomical reduction. We then sequentially sectioned the anterior radiocapitellar joint capsule, annular ligament, quadrate ligament, and the proximal and middle interosseous membrane to simulate soft tissue injuries commonly associated with anterior Monteggia fractures. Results: Greater magnitudes of biceps loading significantly increased anterior radial head translation. However, there was no significant difference in radial head translation between simulated active and passive elbow flexion except in the final stage of soft tissue sectioning. There was a significant increase in anterior radial head translation with progressive injury states with both isometric biceps loading and simulated active and passive motion. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that anatomic reduction of the ulna may not be sufficient to restore radial head alignment in anterior Monteggia injuries with a greater magnitude of soft tissue injury. In cases with significant soft tissue injury, the elbow should be immobilized in a flexed and supinated position to allow relaxation of the biceps and avoid movement of the elbow in the early postoperative period.