Background: Radiocapitellar arthritis or defects most often result from trauma. Most of the patients are young and have high functional demands with high load capacities. Therefore, endoprosthetic options should be postponed for as long as possible. If conservative treatment cannot relieve symptoms sufficiently, radial head preservation, resection or replacement options are at the surgeon's disposal. In early stages of radiocapitellar arthritis, radial head preservation options can be taken into account. The chances ofgood results decrease with increasing cartilage damage.
Treatment options: In addition to radial head preservation options this article discusses radial head resection with and without anconeus interposition and radial head as well as radiocapitellar replacement. Clinical data are rare. The advantages and disadvantages of each option must be discussed with the patient and the decision should be made individually on the basis of patient specific factors. The aim must be to postpone endoprosthetic options - especially total elbow arthroplasty - for as long as possible, while assuring a functional range of motion with an acceptable pain level.
Keywords: Cartilage; Elbow; Joint replacement; Radius; Trauma.