JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Repairing the annular ligament is not necessary in the operation of Mason type 2, 3 isolated radial head fractures if the lateral collateral ligament is intact: Minimum 5 years follow-up.

Injury 2013 December
INTRODUCTION: The repair of annular ligament after open reduction and internal fixation of radial head fracture could produce the irritation or crepitation during range of motion exercise. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the significance of unrepaired annular ligament during fixation of isolated radial head fractures.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Retrospectively we reviewed the twenty-five patients who underwent surgical fixation with a plate for Mason type 2, 3 isolated radial head fracture without annular ligament repair. All the radial head fracture did not have the associated injuries which could cause the elbow instabilities. The average length of follow-up was 6.9 years. The outcomes were evaluated clinically (range of motions, instabilities, pain VAS, Broberg & Murrey functional rating score, DASH score) and radiographically (bony union, arthritic change, lateral translation of the radial head, humero-ulnar angle with maximum varus stress of elbow, ulnar variance).

RESULTS: The range of motions between affected and contralateral side were not significantly different at last follow-up. No one showed the instabilities of elbow. The mean pain VAS, Broberg & Murrey functional rating score, and DASH score were 2.7±0.5, 95.3±2.5, and 14.8±5.3 points respectively. Bony union was observed for all cases. There was no significant difference in the lateral translation of the radial head, humero-ulnar angle with maximum varus stress of elbow, and ulnar variance between the affected and the contralateral arm.

CONCLUSION: The isolated role of the annular ligament seems overestimated. We scrutinize that the annular ligament repair is not essential in the operative treatment of isolated radial head fractures if the lateral collateral ligament is intact.

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