Clinical and radiographic comparisons of two different radial head implant designs

John C. Berschback, T. Sean Lynch, David M. Kalainov*, Robert W. Wysocki, Bradley R. Merk, Mark S. Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Background: There is little comparative data to guide implant choice for radial head replacements. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical and radiographic results between patients who received a smooth-stemmed bipolar radial head implant and patients who received an in-growth monopolar prosthesis. Methods: Twenty-seven patients requiring a metallic radial head implant in the management of acute or chronic elbow trauma were evaluated. Fourteen patients received a smooth-stemmed bipolar prosthesis and 13 patients received a press-fit monopolar prosthesis. Patients returned for follow-up at an average of 33 months (range, 18-57). Outcome assessments included joint motion, elbow stability, grip strength, pain, the Mayo Elbow Performance Index, and the Disability of Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire. Radiographs were reviewed for joint congruence, ectopic bone, periprosthetic osteolysis, degenerative arthritis, and capitellar wear, and selected patients were tested for inflammatory markers and metal ion levels. Results: The differences between patient groups for elbow flexion and forearm pronation averaged 10° or less. There were no other pertinent differences between groups for standardized patient and examiner-determined outcomes. There was a trend for ectopic bone to develop more commonly around the smooth-stemmed implants, while periprosthetic osteolysis was more pronounced in cases with the press-fit design. Inflammatory markers were normal, and metal ion levels did not exceed values reported for a well-functioning hip arthroplasty. Conclusion: Outcomes at short- to mid-term follow-up were similar with either implant design. Loosening of a press-fit prosthesis may lead to extensive osteolysis, but of undetermined clinical consequence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1108-1120
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Elbow joint
  • Heterotopic ossification
  • Level III
  • Metal ions
  • Osteolysis
  • Radial head arthroplasty
  • Radial head fracture
  • Retrospective Cohort Study
  • Treatment Study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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