[Fresh fractures of the radial head: results with the Judet prosthesis]

F Holmenschlager, J P Halm, S Winckler
Revue de Chirurgie Orthop├ędique et R├ęparatrice de L'appareil Moteur 2002, 88 (4): 387-97

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: Communitive fractures of the radial head are a therapeutic challenge when fixation is not possible. Secondary sequelae including ulnar valgus, ascension of the radius, osteoporosis of the humeral condyle and biomechanical impairment of the elbow cannot be avoided with resection or the Swanson prosthesis. The Judet prosthesis, with its floating cup, is a technically attractive solution, but the question is whether it can avoid the secondary effects observed with resection or the Swanson prosthesis.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We have used the Judet prosthesis since August 1995 in 16 patients. These patients had Mason type IV (Johnston modification) lesions of the radial head in 14 cases and type III lesions in 2. Associated injuries included: Monteggia fracture in 2, open fracture-dislocation in 1, fracture of the radial neck associated with fracture of the lower radius in 1, and dislocation of the elbow in 2. Preoperatively, 7 of the 16 patients had an osteocartilaginous injury of the humeral condyle. The Judet prosthesis was implanted after resection in 3 patients, after osteosynthesis of the radial head in 3 others, and as the first line treatment in 10. Postoperatively, 13 of the 16 patients were given a unique 7 Gy radiation to prevent ossification as well as nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (indometazin 50 mg b.i.d.) for 3 weeks. None of the patients were immobilized.

RESULTS: Mean follow-up for the 16 patients was 19 months (12-45). Deficient extension persisted in 5 patients (mean 5 degrees ). Average flexion was 128 degrees; two patients were limited to 100 degrees. Average pronation was 77 degrees, and average supination 79 degrees. Muscle force was 10% weaker than the healthy side. Sagittal and frontal stability in valgus was preserved in 14 patients. Two patients had a frontal instability with minimal valgus related to a minor insufficiency of the medial collateral ligament. According to the Radin and Riseborough classification, outcome was good in 7, fair in 6 and poor in 3. According to the Morrey classification, outcome was excellent in 2, good in 12, fair in 1 and poor in 1. Radiologically, there were no cases with ulnar valgus, humeral condyle osteoporosis, ascension of the radius, or subluxation of the distal radioulnar joint. The prosthesis loosened in one case without clinical expression.

DISCUSSION: Our results with the Judet prosthesis were much better than those reported in the literature for resection and Swanson prosthesis.


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