Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

Internal joint stabilizer for varus posteromedial rotatory instability of the elbow

Published:January 30, 2021DOI:


      Management of varus posteromedial rotatory instability (VPMRI) of the elbow presents a challenging problem, sometimes requiring supplemental external fixation or ulnohumeral cross-pinning. A relatively new treatment adjunct for posterolateral rotatory instability of the elbow has become available with the development of the internal joint stabilizer (IJS) implant. However, this has not been studied for VPMRI because the implant is thought to be ineffective at treating this instability when placed in the usual manner on the lateral side of the elbow. We hypothesize that modifying the IJS technique to place the implant medially will make it as effective as external fixation at preventing VPMRI.


      Nine whole-arm cadaveric specimens were tested on a rig that allowed for gravity stress of the elbow at 60° of abduction. Intact specimens (INT) were tested to find the baseline stability with all structures intact. Then, O'Driscoll type 2–subtype III coronoid fractures were created with a microsagittal saw, and these same specimens were again tested without any fixation (WAF), with a static lateral external fixator (SLEF), and with a medially placed IJS (MIJS). The method for medial IJS placement is detailed within.


      The WAF specimens were significantly more unstable than the INT, SLEF, and MIJS groups (P < .001). There was no difference in stability between the INT and the SLEF (P = .59) or MIJS group (P = .21).


      In this cadaveric model, a medially placed IJS was as effective as an SLEF at maintaining elbow stability in a coronoid-deficient elbow. This technique allows for early elbow range of motion, with no external hardware, and may eliminate the complications associated with external fixation or ulnohumeral cross-pinning.

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