Bone and Joint Institute

Role of the anconeus in the stability of a lateral ligament and common extensor origin–deficient elbow: an in vitro biomechanical study

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Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery





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© 2018 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees Background: The role of the anconeus in elbow stability has been a long-standing debate. Anatomic and electromyographic studies have suggested a potential role as a stabilizer. However, to our knowledge, no clinical or biomechanical studies have investigated its role in improving the stability of a combined lateral collateral ligament and common extensor origin (LCL + CEO)–deficient elbow. Methods: Seven cadaveric upper extremities were mounted in an elbow motion simulator in the varus position. An injured model was created by sectioning of the CEO and the LCL. The anconeus tendon and its aponeurosis were sutured in a Krackow fashion and tensioned to 10 N and 20 N using a transosseous tunnel. Varus-valgus angles and ulnohumeral rotations were recorded using an electromagnetic tracking system during simulated active elbow flexion with the forearm pronated and supinated. Results: During active motion, the injured model resulted in a significant increase in varus angulation (P =.0001 for pronation; P =.001 for supination) and external rotation (P =.001 for pronation; P =.003 for supination) of the ulnohumeral articulation compared with the intact state. Tensioning of the anconeus significantly decreased the varus angulation (P =.006 for 10 N pronation; P =.0001 for 20 N pronation; P =.0001 for 10 N supination; P =.0001 for 20 N supination) and external rotation angle (P =.008 for 10 N pronation; P =.0001 for 20 N pronation; P =.0001 for 10 N supination; P =.0001 for 20 N supination) of the injured elbow. Conclusions: In the highly unstable varus elbow orientation, anconeus tensioning restores the in vitro stability of a combined LCL + CEO–deficient elbow during simulated active motion with the forearm in both pronation and supination. These results may have several clinical implications in managing symptomatic lateral elbow instability.

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