Prosthetic resurfacing of engaging posterior capitellar defects in recurrent posterolateral rotatory instability of the elbow

Dani Rotman, Jorge Rojas Lievano, Shawn W. O’Driscoll*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Posterolateral rotatory instability (PLRI) is a common mechanism of recurrent elbow instability. While the essential lesion is a deficiency in the lateral ulnar collateral ligament (LUCL), there are often associated concomitant bony lesions, such as an Osborne-Cot-terill lesions (posterior capitellar fractures) and marginal radial head fractures, that compromise stability. Currently, there is no standard treatment for posterior capitellar deficiency associated with recurrent PLRI. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of five patients with recurrent PLRI of the elbow associated with a posterior capitellar im-paction fracture engaging with the radial head during normal range of motion. The patients were treated surgically with LUCL reconstruction or repair and off-label reconstruction of the capitellar joint surface using a small metal prosthesis designed for metatarsal head resurfacing (HemiCAP toe classic). Results: Five patients (three adolescent males, two adult females) were treated between 2007 and 2018. At a median follow-up of 5 years, all patients had complete relief of their symptomatic instability. No patients had pain at rest, but two patients had mild pain (visual analog scale 1–3) during physical activity. Three patients rated their elbow as normal, one as almost normal, and one as greatly improved. On short-term radiographic follow-up there were no signs of implant loosening. None of the patients needed reoperation. Conclusions: Recurrent PLRI of the elbow associated with an engaging posterior capitellar lesion can be treated successfully by LUCL reconstruction and repair and filling of the capitellar defect with a metal prosthesis. This treatment option has excellent clinical results in the short-medium term. Level of evidence: IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-295
Number of pages9
JournalClinics in Shoulder and Elbow
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2023


  • Capitellum
  • Elbow instability
  • Osborne-Cotterill
  • Recurrent posterolateral rotatory instability
  • Resurfacing


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