Total elbow arthroplasty is often used to replace elbow joints that have been severely damaged by arthritis or trauma. A great disparity of designs exists, however, in currently available elbow prostheses. This study evaluated the intrinsic stability of one popular resurfacing implant, the Capitellocondylar (Johnson and Johnson Orthopaedics, Inc., New Brunswick, NJ) total elbow. The in vitro response of this unconstrained prosthesis to valgus-varus and supination-pronation loading was investigated using a materials testing machine. The influence of compressive loading and flexion angle on the intrinsic stability of the prosthesis was studied. The Capitellocondylar prosthesis was found to have little intrinsic constraint, relying on external forces for component stabilization. Dislocations were common at 111 N of compressive loading, while larger loads progressively stabilized the prosthesis. Joint flexion angle had little influence on the intrinsic constraint of the implant except to increase varus stability at lower flexion angles. The Capitellocondylar total elbow prosthesis, as designed by F. C. Ewald, behaves as an unconstrained implant. Adequate soft tissue supports, which are properly balanced to provide controlled loading, are essential to prevent instability of this arthroplasty.
- in vitro
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine