The kinematic importance of radial neck length in radial head replacement

F. Van Glabbeek, R. P. Van Riet, J. A. Baumfeld, P. G. Neale, S. W. O'Driscoll, B. F. Morrey, K. N. An

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Comminuted radial head fractures can be treated with a radial head implant. The effects of lengthening (2.5 mm, 5 mm) and shortening (2.5 mm, 5 mm) of the radial neck, were compared to the nominal length in six human upper extremity cadavers. Total varus-valgus laxity and ulnar rotation were recorded. We hypothesized that restoring the exact length of the radius is important to maintain normal kinematics in the elbow joint. Lengthening or shortening of more than 2.5 mm significantly changed elbow kinematics. Lengthening caused a significant decrease (p < 0.001) in varus-valgus laxity, with the ulna tracking in varus and external rotation. Shortening caused a significant increase in varus-valgus laxity (p < 0.001) and ulnar rotation (p < 0.001), with the ulna tracking in valgus and internal rotation. Our study suggests that a restoration of radial length is important and that axial understuffing or overstuffing the radiohumeral joint by 2.5 mm or more, will alter elbow kinematics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-342
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Implant
  • Kinematics
  • Radial length

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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