Development of Computer-Assisted Radial Head Replacement

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In the cases of unreconstructible comminuted radial head fractures with associated soft tissue injuries, radial head implant replacement (or arthroplasty) is indicated. Current implant designs are axisymmetric which may prevent optimal performance, as the native radial head is offset with respect to the radial neck. To study the effect of implant position on joint tracking and kinematics, a computer-assisted implant placement procedure was developed for use in vitro with a prototype adjustable radial head implant. While the implant head was rotated and translated, the head position could be visualized and described in real-time. The performance of the system was assessed in a cadaveric upper extremity, and preliminary results of the effects of implant head position on kinematics were obtained. This system has provided new information that may enhance the selection and design of implants for reconstruction of the radial head, and lead to computer-assisted placement of these implants intra-operatively.