The Role of Total Elbow Arthroplasty in the Setting of Elbow Instability

  • Ana Mata-Fink
  • David Kovacevic
  • Theodore A. BlaineEmail author


Elbow instability is a complex problem that can significantly limit functional use of the arm. Total elbow arthroplasty may be used as a salvage procedure to restore joint stability in persistently unstable elbows due to ligamentous insufficiency or distal humerus nonunion. Recent studies report satisfactory outcomes of total elbow arthroplasty for elbow instability in older, low-demand patients. Preoperative evaluation with appropriate imaging and laboratory studies is crucial for a successful outcome. Surgical management is technically demanding and involves management of the triceps tendon and ulnar nerve, appropriate implant selection and accurate component positioning, meticulous wound closure, and appropriate postoperative care.


Elbow instability Distal humerus nonunion Total elbow arthroplasty Surgical treatment Ligament deficiency 

Supplementary material

Video 16.1

The humeral tunnel is then prepared and two drill holes connected to the tunnel for suture and graft passage. With sutures passed through the humeral drill holes, the two ends of the graft are pulled into the humeral tunnel. It is important to make sure that the graft is of appropriate length so that the free limbs do not both bottom out in the humeral tunnel (MP4 186759 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Mata-Fink
    • 1
  • David Kovacevic
    • 1
  • Theodore A. Blaine
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.New HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedics & RehabilitationYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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