Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

Outcomes following revision of the revision total elbow arthroplasty

Published:November 18, 2020DOI:


      There is very little information in the literature on the outcomes of revision of revision total elbow arthroplasty (RRTEA). Our aim was to report the outcomes of this rarely performed procedure.


      We retrospectively identified all patients who had undergone RRTEA between 2007 and 2016. Outcomes were assessed clinically using a number of validated systems, and radiographs were reviewed for prosthesis alignment, cementation by Morrey grading, and heterotopic ossification.


      We identified 22 patients who underwent RRTEA. Of these patients, 14 were available for assessment (2 died of unrelated causes, 2 could not be contacted, 2 declined to participate because of travel difficulties, and 2 had incomplete data). At the final review, the median age was 73 years (range, 57-83 years), with a median follow-up period of 4.5 years (range, 2-7 years) since the last surgical procedure. The median number of previous revision arthroplasty procedures per patient was 3 (range, 2-6). The indications for RRTEA were aseptic loosening (60%), bushing wear (16%), fracture (14%), and infection (10%). Of the patients, 30% required extra-long or custom-made implants and 50% needed allograft augmentation. At final clinical assessment, 56% of patients had triceps insufficiency, the median flexion-extension arc was 90°, and the median prono-supination arc was 95°. The functional elbow scores revealed good outcomes in the majority of patients (median visual analog scale score, 5; median Oxford Elbow Score, 22; median Mayo Elbow Performance Index score, 55; and median QuickDASH [short version of Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire] score, 63). Eighty-one percent of patients were satisfied with their RRTEAs. Complications included infection in 2 patients (1 superficial and 1 deep), symptomatic aseptic humeral component loosening in 1, sensory ulnar nerve symptoms in 2, and radial nerve injury in 1. One patient required ulnar nerve release. Radiologic review revealed asymptomatic loosening in 1 patient (humeral component), and overall prosthesis alignment with cementation was adequate in 81%. Heterotopic ossification was present in 38% of cases.


      RRTEA is a satisfactory treatment option in these complex cases, with good short- to mid-term survival rates but a relatively high complication rate.

      Level of evidence


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