The effect of torsional moments on the posterolateral rotatory stability of a lateral ligament deficient elbow: An in vitro biomechanical investigation
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd Background: Clinical tests for posterolateral rotatory instability of the elbow apply external torsional moments to the forearm; however, biomechanical studies of lateral collateral ligament injuries and their surgical repair, reconstruction and rehabilitation have primarily relied on varus gravity loading to quantify instability. The aim of this investigation was to determine the effect of torsional moments on the posterolateral rotatory instability of the lateral ligament deficient elbow. Methods: Six cadaveric arms were tested in an elbow motion simulator with the arm in the varus position. A threaded outrigger was inserted on the dorsal aspect of the proximal ulna to suspend 400 g, 600 g, and 800 g of weight to allow torsional moments of 0.12, 0.18, and 0.23 Nm respectively on the ulna. An injured model was created by sectioning of the common extensor origin, and the lateral collateral ligament. Findings: During simulated active flexion with the arm in varus, the injured model resulted in a significant increase in external rotation of the ulnohumeral articulation with the forearm both pronated and supinated (pronation: P =.021; supination: P =.015). The application of torsional moments to the lateral ligament deficient elbow resulted in a significant increase in the posterolateral rotatory instability of the elbow. Interpretation: This investigation demonstrates that the application of even small amounts of external torsional moments on the forearm with the arm in the varus position increases the rotational instability of the lateral ligament deficient elbow. During clinical examination for posterolateral rotatory instability and biomechanical studies of lateral ligament injury, the application of external torsion to the forearm should be considered to detect subtle instability. Level of evidence: Basic Science Study.