Ulnar Coronoid Process Anatomy: Possible Implications for Elbow Instability

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Abstract

Ulnar coronoid process fractures are relatively uncommon injuries usually occurring with elbow dislocations and contributing to elbow instability. Recent evidence suggests coronoid tip fractures have a role in the instability. We sought to quantify the capsular and brachialis attachments of the ulnar coronoid process to better understand why instability occurs. We prepared eight fresh-frozen cadaveric specimens to ascertain the specific attachment locations. After dissection, we isolated and resected the proximal ulna, including the coronoid process and its soft tissue attachments. We then embedded, sectioned, and stained the specimens. The average distance from the tip of the coronoid to the proximal capsule was 2.36 ± 0.39 mm. The average distance from the tip of the coronoid to the proximal brachialis insertion was10.13 ± 1.6 mm. Most coronoid tip fractures included disruption of the anterior capsule, which potentially explains why instability can be associated with these fractures.

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