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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2007 Jul-Aug;16(4):443-8. Epub 2007 Jan 24.

Arthroscopic ulnohumeral arthroplasty for degenerative arthritis of the elbow in patients under fifty years of age.

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Shoulder and Elbow Service, W. B. Carrell Memorial Clinic, Dallas, TX 75231, USA.


Degenerative arthritis of the elbow in patients aged under 50 years can cause disabling pain, severely restricted range of motion (ROM), and functional limitations. Open ulnohumeral arthroplasty has been demonstrated to produce satisfactory pain relief and ROM gains. We report the results of an all-arthroscopic ulnohumeral arthroplasty for degenerative arthritis of the elbow in younger patients. Eleven consecutive patients aged under 50 years with radiographically documented degenerative elbow arthritis underwent an all-arthroscopic ulnohumeral arthroplasty as described by Savoie et al. Indications for surgery were pain and limited ROM refractory to 12 months of conservative treatment. The mean age at the time of surgery was 36 years (range, 23-47 years). The minimum postoperative follow-up was 24 months, with a mean of 26 months (range, 24-29 months). Preoperatively, mean flexion was 100 degrees (range, 70 degrees-140 degrees) and mean extension (short of neutral) was 40 degrees (range, 10 degrees-60 degrees). Postoperatively, mean flexion was 140 degrees (range, 130 degrees-150 degrees; P < .01) and mean extension was 7 degrees (range, 0 degrees-20 degrees; P < .01). The total arc of motion averaged 60 degrees preoperatively and 133 degrees postoperatively (improvement of 73 degrees, P < .01). The mean subjective pain level improved from 9.2 to 1.7 (where 10 indicates worst pain and 0 indicates no pain). Mean subjective patient satisfaction improved from 1.8 to 9.0 (where 0 indicates unsatisfied and 10 indicates completely satisfied). All-arthroscopic ulnohumeral arthroplasty provides significant short-term pain relief, as well as restoration of elbow ROM and function, in patients aged under 50 years with degenerative arthritis of the elbow. The long-term durability of this procedure with regard to preservation of ROM and radiographic progression of arthritis remains unknown.

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