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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1993 Jul;75(4):572-6.

Primary replacement of the fractured radial head with a metal prosthesis.

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Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Scotland, UK.


Compression testing of cadaver specimens showed that excision of the radial head allowed proximal radial displacement. The insertion of a metallic radial head restored normal mechanics, while a silicone rubber implant did not. We reviewed 31 of 36 comminuted fractures of the radial head, 21 associated with dislocation or ulnar fracture, which had been treated by primary replacement with a Vitallium prosthesis. At a mean follow-up of 4.5 years, there was reliable restoration of stability and prevention of proximal radial migration. There had been no dislocations or prosthetic failures, but two implants had been removed for loosening. The prosthesis is recommended for use as a spacer to stabilise the elbow after severe injuries while the soft tissues heal.

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