The role of the posterior bundle of the medial collateral ligament in posteromedial rotatory instability of the elbow

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Abstract

Aims

The aim of this study was to evaluate two hypotheses. First, that disruption of posterior bundle of the medial collateral ligament (PMCL) has to occur for the elbow to subluxate in cases of posteromedial rotatory instability (PMRI) and second, that ulnohumeral contact pressures increase after disruption of the PMCL.

Materials and Methods

Six human cadaveric elbows were prepared on a custom-designed apparatus which allowed muscle loading and passive elbow motion under gravitational varus. Joint contact pressures were measured sequentially in the intact elbow (INTACT), followed by an anteromedial subtype two coronoid fracture (COR), a lateral collateral ligament (LCL) tear (COR + LCL), and a PMCL tear (COR + LCL + PMCL).

Results

There was no subluxation or joint incongruity in the INTACT, COR, and COR + LCL specimens. All specimens in the COR + LCL + PMCL group subluxated under gravity-varus loads. The mean articular contact pressure of the COR + LCL group was significantly higher than those in the INTACT and the COR groups. The mean articular contact pressure of the COR + LCL + PMCL group was significantly higher than that of the INTACT group, but not higher than that of the COR + LCL group.

Conclusion

In the presence of an anteromedial fracture and disruption of the LCL, the posterior bundle of the MCL has to be disrupted for gross subluxation of the elbow to occur. However, elevated joint contact pressures are seen after an anteromedial fracture and LCL disruption even in the absence of such subluxation.

Conclusion

Cite this article:Bone Joint J2018;100-B:1060–5.

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