Arthroscopic ulnohumeral arthroplasty for elbow arthritis in patients under the age of 50 years (SS-39)

      Degenerative arthritis of the elbow in patients under age 50 can cause disabling pain, severely restricted range of motion (ROM), and functional limitations. Open ulnohumeral arthroplasty has been demonstrated to produce satisfactory pain relief and ROM gains. We report the results of an all-arthroscopic ulnohumeral arthroplasty for degenerative arthritis of the elbow in young patients. Materials and Methods: Eleven consecutive patients under age 50 with radiographically documented degenerative elbow arthritis underwent an all-arthroscopic ulnohumeral arthroplasty as described by Savoie. Indication for surgery was pain and limited ROM refractory to 12 months of conservative treatment. Mean age at time of surgery was 36 years (range 23 to 47 years). Mean postoperative follow-up was 15 months (range 12–18 months). Results: Mean preoperative flexion was 100° (range 70°–140°), and extension (short of neutral) was 40° (range 10°–60°). Mean postoperative flexion was 140° (range 130°–150°; P < .01) and extension was 7° (range 0°–20°; P < .01). Total arc of motion averaged 60° preoperatively and 133° postoperatively (improvement of 73°; P < .01). Mean subjective pain level improved from 9.2 to 1.7 (10 = worst pain; 0 = no pain). Mean subjective patient satisfaction improved from 1.8 to 9.0 (0 = unsatisfied; 10 = completely satisfied). Discussion: All-arthroscopic ulnohumeral arthroplasty provides significant short-term pain relief and restoration of elbow ROM and function in patients under age 50 with degenerative arthritis of the elbow. Long-term durability of this procedure with regard to preservation of ROM and radiographic progression of arthritis remains unknown.