Biomechanical differences of the anterior and posterior bands of the ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow
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The main purpose of this study was to examine the functional characteristics of the anterior and posterior bands of the anterior bundle of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL).
Six cadaveric elbows were tested using a digital tracking system to measure the strain in the anterior band and posterior band of the anterior bundle of the UCL throughout a flexion/extension arc. The specimens were then placed in an Instron materials testing machine and loaded to failure to determine yield load and ultimate load of the UCL.
The posterior band showed a linear increase in strain with increasing degrees of elbow flexion while the anterior band showed minimal change in strain throughout. The bands showed similar strain at yield load and ultimate load, demonstrating similar intrinsic properties.
The anterior band of the anterior bundle of the UCL shows an isometric strain pattern through elbow range of motion, while the posterior band shows an increasing strain pattern in higher degrees of elbow flexion. Both bands show similar strain in a load to failure model, indicating insertion point, not intrinsic differences, of the bands determine the function of the anterior bundle of the UCL. This demonstrates a biomechanical rationale for UCL reconstructions using single point anatomical insertion points.
KeywordsUlnar collateral ligament Strain Elbow flexion Anterior band Posterior band Cadaveric study
Authors would like to thank the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development and Medical Research and the Congress Medical Foundation.
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