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Management of Chronic Posttraumatic Radial Head Dislocation in Children

Seel, Michael J. M.D.; Peterson, Hamlet A. M.D., M.S.

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics: May-June 1999 - Volume 19 - Issue 3 - p 306-312

We describe a new procedure for the management of chronic posttraumatic radial head dislocation, which uses two drill holes in the proximal ulna. The holes are placed at the original attachments of the annular ligament and thereby allow repair of the annular ligament (frequently avulsed from one attachment and impinged within the joint) or reconstruction of the annular ligament with whatever tissue or material desired (triceps tendon is convenient). It secures the radial head in its normal position from any dislocated position. It also allows for osteotomy of any accompanying deformity of the ulna or radius. This operation developed gradually between 1967 and 1995 while we treated seven female patients. The average age at time of injury was 5 years 10 months (range, 3 years 4 months to 8 years 11 months). The interval between injury and operation averaged 30 months (range, 3 months to 7 years). The age at time of surgery averaged 8 years 4 months (range, 5 years 4 months to 13 years 5 months). The only criterion for surgery was a normal concave proximal radial articular surface. Follow-up averaged 48 months. At final follow-up, all patients were fully active and had no elbow pain or instability. Analysis of these cases suggests that the criteria for surgical repair should be based on two features: (a) normal concave radial head articular surface, and (b) normal shape and contour of the ulna and radius (deformity of either should be corrected by osteotomy). The age of the patient and duration of the dislocation are unimportant.

Outstanding paper presented at the POSNA Annual Meeting, 1998

Study conducted at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.A.

From the Mayo Clinic/Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. H. A. Peterson, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street, S.W., Rochester, MN 55905, U.S.A.

This paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, May 7, 1998, in Cleveland, OH, and received the award for the best clinical scientific paper.

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.