The use of metal and pyrolytic carbon radial head implants, capitellar resurfacing, and total elbow arthroplasty has become common in contemporary orthopedic surgery practice. The goal of total elbow arthroplasty is to decrease pain and restore an acceptable range of motion to the elbow joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is the primary indication for total elbow arthroplasty; newer indications include primary or posttraumatic osteoarthritis, fracture nonunion, acute comminuted fractures of the elbow, and postoperative resection of a neoplasm. Unlike total elbow arthroplasty, radial head replacement is most commonly performed in patients with trauma. Radial head fractures account for 33% of all elbow fractures in adults and are often associated with ligament disruption and valgus instability at the elbow. The goals of capitellar resurfacing arthroplasty include prevention of secondary osteoarthritis of the radiocapitellar joint and erosion in patients with radial head arthroplasty. Effective postoperative radiologic assessment of these different types of elbow reconstructions requires an understanding of their basic component design, physiologic purpose, and normal postoperative appearance, as well as the appearance of complications. Radiologists may have little training and experience with these new orthopedic devices.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging