Acta chirurgiae orthopaedicae et traumatologiae Cechoslovaca

Acta chirurgiae orthopaedicae et traumatologiae Cechoslovaca

Původní práce / Original papers

85, 2018, p. 186 - 193

Indikace resekcí hlavic radia v traumatologii

Indication for Radial Head Resection in Traumatology

1 Ortopedická klinika 1. lékařské fakulty Univerzity Karlovy a Fakultní nemocnice v Motole, Praha
2 Traumatologické oddělení, Fakultní nemocnice Olomouc



The aim of our study was to determine the indications for radial head resection at the present day.


The radial head resection was performed in the period from 2008 to 2015 in 63 patients divided into three groups. The first group marked "CR" consisted of 33 patients with the Mason type III fracture. The second group marked "CRLUX" included 20 patients with the Mason-Johnston type IV fracture, i.e. a fracture of the proximal end of the radius with a dislocation of the elbow joint. Within this group, in 8 cases also the coronoid process of the ulna was fractured. The third group marked as "CRFR" was composed of 10 patients, in whom concomitant proximal radial fracture and proximal ulna fracture occurred, and in all the cases osteosynthesis of the proximal ulna fracture was performed. For subjective evaluation of the upper limb function the DASH score was used. The functional outcomes were expressed using the Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS). Moreover, the range of motion in the elbow and forearm (flexion and extension of the elbow, pronation and supination of the forearm), elbow joint stability and presence of neurological lesions were assessed. The radiological assessment consisted of measuring the proximalization of the radius, monitoring the heterotopic ossifications, signs of arthrosis, recurrent re-dislocation of elbow and proximal ulna fracture healing.


The mean follow-up period was 17.6 months (range of 13.2 - 81.0 months, SD 11.5). The mean DASH score was 15.6 (range of 0-60, SD 15.3) in the CR group, 12.0 (range of 0-52.7, SD 16.7) in the CRLUX group and 17.5 (range of 0-62.3, SD 12.8) in the CRFR group. A considerably limited mobility was seen in the CR group in three cases (9.1%), in the CRLUX group in four cases (20.0%) and in the CRFR group in two cases (20.0 %).The MEPS score showed similar results in all the groups, excellent and good results were always achieved in more than % of patients. Elbow stiffness did not develop in any of the patients. In the CRLUX group, one case a re-dislocation of the elbow occurred. In the CRFR group, in one case an injury to the interosseous membrane and distal radioulnar joint ligaments failed to be diagnosed and a  clinically significant proximalization of the radius (9 mm shift) occurred, which subsequently required ulnar shortening osteotomy. Additional two proximalization of the radius with a minor shift (2 and 3 mm) in the group CR and CRLUX were not associated with major mobility limitations. Heterotopic ossification occurred in a total of 11 cases (17.5 %) and in four cases it caused major mobility limitations (two cases in the CR group, one case in the CRLUX and CRFR groups). Surgical treatment was indicated in one case with a  good functional effect, in one case the range of motion improved after actinotherapy. In the CR group, one case of neuroma of the radial nerve developed and the condition was treated by sural nerve transplantation.


The current papers view simple proximal radial resection positively unless elbow instability is present. In literature, references are made to serious, mainly late complications (arthrosis, valgus deformity, considerable limitation of elbow range of motion, proximal radial-ulnar synostosis, proximalization of the radius and symptomatic radioulnar joint subluxation). Resection of the radial head is contraindicated in the so called "terrible triad" of the elbow, i.e. the combination of a radial head fracture, a  coronoid process fracture and elbow dislocation, and in the Essex-Lopresti injury, i.e. a radial head fracture with a concomitant tear of the interosseous membrane of the forearm and radioulnar joint dislocation. The Essex-Lopresti injury is often overlooked during the initial examination, proximalization of the radius can occur gradually only after several months.


The evaluation of our groups of patients showed that the radial head resection can be a good treatment option with no serious early complications in the Mason type III fractures. Serious complications occurred only in cases when the fracture was accompanied by a concomitant injury, i.e. in the Mason-Johnson type IV fractures and in concomitant proximal ulna fracture. When an indication for radial head resection is made, it is essential to correctly diagnose the injury which is clearly a contraindication to this method, i.e. the Essex-Lopresti and the "terrible triad" injuries.

Key words: fracture, radial head, resection


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