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19.02.2021 | Orthopaedic Surgery Open Access

LUCL reconstruction of the elbow: clinical midterm results based on the underlying pathogenesis

Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
Stephanie Geyer, Caroline Heine, Philipp W. Winkler, Patricia M. Lutz, Andreas Lenich, Bastian Scheiderer, Andreas B. Imhoff, Sebastian Siebenlist
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Traumatic and atraumatic insufficiency of the lateral ulnar collateral ligament (LUCL) can cause posterolateral rotatory instability (PLRI) of the elbow. The influence of the underlying pathogenesis on functional outcomes remains unknown so far. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of the initial pathogenesis of PLRI on clinical outcomes after LUCL reconstruction using an ipsilateral triceps tendon autograft.


Thirty-six patients were reviewed in this retrospective study. Depending on the pathogenesis patients were assigned to either group EPI (atraumatic, secondary LUCL insufficiency due to chronic epicondylopathia) or group TRAUMA (traumatic LUCL lesion). Range-of-motion (ROM) and posterolateral joint stability were evaluated preoperatively and at follow-up survey. For clinical assessment, the Mayo elbow performance (MEPS) score was used. Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) consisting of visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain, disability of arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) score, patient-rated elbow evaluation (PREE) score and subjective elbow evaluation (SEV) as well as complications were analyzed.


Thirty-one patients (group EPI, n = 17; group TRAUMA, n = 14), 13 men and 18 women with a mean age of 42.9 ± 11.0 were available for follow-up evaluation (57.7 ± 17.5 months). In 93.5%, posterolateral elbow stability was restored (n = 2 with re-instability, both group TRAUMA). No differences were seen between groups in relation to ROM. Even though group EPI (98.9 ± 3.7 points) showed better results than group TRAUMA (91.1 ± 12.6 points) (p = 0.034) according to MEPS, no differences were found for evaluated PROs (group A: VAS 1 ± 1.8, PREE 9.3 ± 15.7, DASH 7.7 ± 11.9, SEV 92.9 ± 8.3 vs. group B: VAS 1.9 ± 3.2, PREE 22.4 ± 26.1, DASH 16.0 ± 19.4, SEV 87.9 ± 15.4. 12.9% of patients required revision surgery.


LUCL reconstruction using a triceps tendon autograft for the treatment of PLRI provides good to excellent clinical outcomes regardless of the underlying pathogenesis (traumatic vs. atraumatic). However, in the present case series, posterolateral re-instability tends to be higher for traumatic PLRI and patient-reported outcomes showed inferior results.

Level of evidence

Therapeutic study, LEVEL III.

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