Radial Head Ingrowth Anatomic Implant Versus Smooth Stem Monoblock Implant in Acute Terrible Triad Injury: A Prospective Comparative Study

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This study aimed to compare clinical outcomes and radiographic findings between patients who received 2 different implants (smooth-stemmed modular implant or an anatomic press-fit implant) on patients with acute terrible triad injuries.


Prospective cohort.


Level II Trauma center, University hospital.


Thirty-four patients with an isolated terrible triad injury were divided into 2 study groups (n = 17 each) with different sets of radial head implants and followed for 2 years. A total of 14 patients in each group (n = 28) completed the study.


Group 1 received a smooth-stemmed round modular monopolar implant. Group 2 received an in-growth modular monopolar press-fit anatomic implant.

Main Outcome Measurements:

Clinical outcomes were evaluated using the Visual Analog Scale, Mayo Index, and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) survey. Radiographs were evaluated for ectopic bone formation and loosening.


No difference in clinical outcome when comparing range of motion and functionally scores between groups. Ectopic bone formation occurred equally with implants. Bone formation at the proximal radius under the implant occurred more in group 1 (85.7%), (P = 0.046). Five press-fit stems had radiolucent lines at 2-year follow-up. Two were removed because of symptomatic loosening.


Short-term outcomes for both implants showed to be equally effective treatment options. The in vitro biomechanical advantages of anatomic implants do not translate into short-term improved outcomes. Symptomatic aseptic loosening in anatomic implants is common. Bone formation at the proximal radial neck was observed more with smooth-stemmed implants; further studies should assess this findings and clinical implication.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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