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Ligament Sparing Elbow Hemiarthroplasty: A Novel Technique for the Management of Distal Humeral Fractures.

Intra-articular distal humerus fractures present various challenges with a wide array of treatment options. Open reduction internal fixation remains the treatment of choice. In older patient populations with poor bone quality and short-end segment fractures with articular comminution, open reduction internal fixation, however, may bring on unsurmountable technical challenges. Total elbow arthroplasty and elbow hemiarthroplasty (EHA) may offer superior functional outcomes in these cases. During EHA for fractures, the medial and lateral columns are reconstructed with the collateral ligaments to restore elbow stability. We hypothesize that in coronal sheer fracture patterns where the columns are intact, maintaining the native collateral ligaments and columns will provide both an anatomic and stable elbow joint. We introduce the ligament sparing EHA technique for unreconstructible coronal shear fractures. We describe this novel technique and compare our postoperative outcomes in 2 patients who underwent this surgery to those described in the literature. The postoperative Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand scores for the 2 patients were 13.8 and 10.3, respectively. The Mayo Elbow Performance Score for the 2 patients were 80 and 85, respectively. The operative arm presented a grip strength of 82% and 89% when compared with the contralateral arm, for the patients respectively. The range of motion varied between 78% and 100% of the contralateral arm for both patients. Although our results are promising and the ligament sparing EHA technique may be a more anatomic option in certain fracture patterns, further research with larger cohorts and multiple surgeons is needed to reinforce our results.

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