Radial head replacement with unipolar and bipolar SBi system: A clinical and radiographic analysis after a 2-year mean follow-up

Roberto Rotini, Alessandro Marinelli, Enrico Guerra, Graziano Bettelli, Michele Cavaciocchi

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Radial head prosthetic replacement is indicated in case of comminuted fracture not amenable to internal fixation, especially when the radial head fracture is part of a pattern of lesions configuring a complex instability of the elbow. Thirty-one SBi radial head prostheses were implanted in 30 patients (one bilateral simultaneous fracture) over a 2 years period. In 10 patients, the mean time from trauma to surgical treatment was 2.4 days, while the remaining 20 patients were treated as ''second opinion'' cases presenting with elbow stiffness or instability after an average of 19 days from trauma. The implants were monopolar in 12 cases and bipolar in 19. The clinical results were evaluated through the Mayo Elbow performance scoring system. At an average follow-up of 2 years (range 13-36 months), the mean MEPS was 90 points (range 65-100). At late radiographic analysis, radiolucent lines around the stem were found in 11 of the 31 cases. Heterotopic ossifications were found in 14 cases. Bone resorption was observed in 9 cases. Two of the 31 prostheses were removed after 16 and 20 months, in one case to correct stiffness in pronation/ supination, in the other one for asymptomatic aseptic mobilization. These short-term results are satisfactory, especially when considering that they were obtained in complex elbow lesions treated in many cases at a delayed stage. Our preference over time went more and more to bipolar implants, but from a comparison of the results we could find no evidence of a superiority of bipolar or monopolar implants. The evolution of these prostheses needs to be evaluated with further studies to assess mid-term and long-term follow-up results.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMusculoskeletal Surgery
Issue numberSUPP
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Complex instability of the elbow
  • Radial head fracture
  • Radial head prosthesis
  • SBi prosthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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