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Acta Orthop Belg. 2008 Dec;74(6):753-60.

Metallosis in revision total elbow arthroplasty. Complications and staging method.

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University Hospitals Leuven, Orthopaedic Surgery Department, Pellenberg Campus, Weligerveld 1, B-3212 Pellenberg, Belgium.


Although total elbow arthroplasty is a reliable treatment method for the arthritic joint, revision is necessary if loosening, instability, wear, fracture or infection occurs. We report 12 patients with 19 months (10-29) follow-up after revision arthroplasty for painful loosening in six cases, periprosthetic fracture in three, gross instability in one and skin perforation with possible infection in two. All cases presented with severe metallosis. Fractures were seen in four, triceps insufficiency in three and skin perforation in two. All patients were treated with exchange arthroplasty using the Coonrad-Morrey prosthesis. Three patients had in addition strut-allografting. The two patients with skin perforation and possible infection had a staged procedure. Mayo Elbow Performance Score improved from 24 to 87 with uneventful healing, fracture consolidation and allograft incorporation. At follow-up, triceps insufficiency persisted in all three cases. Transient neuropathy was present in five patients (4 ulnar, 1 radial). Metallosis in total elbow arthroplasty may be associated with severe tissue damage. A staging method is presented.

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