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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2008 May;466(5):1217-24. doi: 10.1007/s11999-008-0134-6. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Late results of absorbable pin fixation in the treatment of radial head fractures.

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First Orthopaedic Department, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki G Papanikolaou Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece.


The use of bioabsorbable pins with prolonged degradation periods for fracture fixation has raised concerns about adverse soft tissue reactions, including seromas, discharging sinuses, or osteolytic changes. We asked whether bioabsorbable pins of self-reinforced polylactic acid polymer used in radial head fractures resulted in such reactions. We retrospectively reviewed 21 patients followed a minimum of 36 months (mean, 81 months; range, 36-136 months). There were nine Mason II, 10 Mason III, and two Mason IV fractures, which were evaluated clinically and radiographically. All fractures healed well with no radiographic signs of osteolysis. The mean Mayo Elbow Performance score was 93.8 (range, 20-100), which is comparable to the outcome of historical groups with radial head arthroplasty. The mean range of flexion of the elbow was 9 degrees to 132 degrees , with 79 degrees pronation and 77 degrees supination. The grip strength of the operated arm was not affected in comparison to the contralateral arm (mean range, 38.6 versus 40.9 kg). No material-related adverse effects were observed during and beyond the degradation period. Our data suggest concerns about soft tissue or bony reactions from these materials in radial head fractures are not justified.

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