Complications and revision rate compared by type of total elbow arthroplasty

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2013 Aug;22(8):1121-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2013.03.003. Epub 2013 May 8.


Background: This study evaluates the long-term results, including complication and revision rates, of different types of total elbow arthroplasty (TEA) with an average follow up of 13 years.

Methods: Since 1984, a total of 84 primary TEAs have been performed in 77 patients at our institution. The patient's average age was 54.2 years. We performed unlinked TEA in 35 cases (Pritchard ERS since 1984 [n = 18], Kudo type 3 since 1991 [n = 17]), and semi-linked TEA in 49 cases (Pritchard Mark II since 1997 [n = 14], Coonrad-Morrey since 2001 [n = 35]). We assessed the patients for compliance to daily living guidelines (not to exceed 2.25 kg for repetitive lifting and 4.5 kg for single episode lifting), and followed up with them for an average of 13 years after primary TEA. We analyzed their results with regard to complication and revision rates as the type of TEA.

Results: The mean Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS) improved from preoperative 34 points to postoperative 84 points. The active flexion-extension elbow motion increased from 25°-94° preoperative to 12°-130° postoperative. The overall complication rate was 44.0% (37/84 cases); the rate was statistically higher in the unlinked group (62.9%, 22/35 cases) than in the semi-linked group (30.6%, 15/49 cases). The overall revision rate was 27.4% (23/84 cases); the rate was higher in the unlinked group (34.3%, 12/35 cases) than in the semi-linked group (22.4%, 11/49 cases).

Conclusion: Semi-linked TEA has better outcomes than unlinked TEA with respect to complication and revision rates; but continuous efforts to develop a new TEA design for longevity, improved cementing technique, and supporting activities of daily living are needed to reduce complication and revision rates in the future.

Keywords: Elbow; Level III; Retrospective Cohort Study; Treatment Study; complication; design; revision; total elbow arthroplasty.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis / etiology
  • Arthritis / physiopathology
  • Arthritis / surgery*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Elbow / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Joint Prosthesis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Prosthesis Failure*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Reoperation
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome