Reconstruction of the interosseous ligament of the forearm reduces load on the radial head in cadavers

Matthew M Tomaino, Jamie Pfaeffle, Kathryne Stabile, Zong-Ming Li
Journal of Hand Surgery: Journal of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand 2003, 28 (3): 267-70
Excision of the radial head after fracture may be complicated by longitudinal radio-ulnar instability (Essex-Lopresti lesion) if the forearm interosseous ligament has also been torn. In such cases proximal migration of the radius occurs, and ulnar impaction at the wrist and radiocapitellar contact at the elbow may impair function. Although metal radial head arthroplasties are now used for irreparable radial head fractures, the long-term clinical outcome may still be unsatisfactory because of excessive radiocapitellar load causing pain. Interosseous ligament reconstruction might improve outcome by restoring normal load transfer from the radius to ulna, but the biomechanical effect of reconstruction has not been reported. This study evaluated forearm load transfer following interosseous ligament reconstruction with an Achilles tendon allograft in a cadaveric model with the radial head intact. Interosseous ligament reconstruction reduced proximal radius loading by transferring force to the proximal ulna, but force transfer by the reconstruction was only half that by the intact ligament.

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