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Bone Joint J. 2018 Nov;100-B(11):1499-1505. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.100B11.BJJ-2018-0293.R1.

Radial head resection versus prosthetic arthroplasty in terrible triad injury: a retrospective comparative cohort study: a retrospective comparative cohort study.

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Bone and Joint Reconstruction Research Center, Shafa Orthopedic Hospital, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



The crucial role of the radial head in the stability of the elbow in terrible triad injury is acknowledged. This retrospective study aims to compare the results of resection of a severely comminuted radial head with or without prosthetic arthroplasty as part of the reconstruction for this injury.


The outcome of radial head resection was compared with prosthetic arthroplasty in 29 and 15 patients with terrible triad injuries, respectively. There were ten female patients (34.5%) in the resection group and six female patients (40%) in the prosthesis group. The mean age was 40.7 years (sd 13.6) in the resection group and 36 years (sd 9.4) in the prosthesis group. The mean follow-up of the patients was 24.4 months (sd 12) in the resection group and 45.8 months (sd 6.8) in the prosthesis group. Outcome measures included visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain, Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS), Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) Score, and range of movement. Postoperative radiological complications were also recorded.


The mean ranges of extension, flexion, supination, and pronation were not significantly different between the two study groups (p = 0.75, p = 0.65, p = 0.82, and p = 0.68, respectively). The mean VAS score, DASH score, and MEPS of the two groups were also not statistically significantly different (p = 0.93, p = 0.19, and p = 0.32, respectively). At the final visit, the elbow was stable in all patients. No patient was found to have developed an Essex-Lopresti injury. Osteoarthritis grade I and II was observed in five and three patients of the resection group, respectively, and four and one patients of the arthroplasty group, respectively.


The outcome of patients undergoing treatment for terrible triad injuries is similar whether the patient's radial head was excised or replaced. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2018;100-B:1499-505.


Radial head replacement; Radial head resection; Terrible triad

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