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Shoulder & Elbow

Central band interosseus membrane reconstruction for longitudinal instability injuries of the forearm

results from an IDEAL stage 1 observational study

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Acute and chronic injuries of the interosseus membrane can result in longitudinal instability of the forearm. Reconstruction of the central band of the interosseus membrane can help to restore biomechanical stability. Different methods have been used to reconstruct the central band, including tendon grafts, bone-ligament-bone grafts, and synthetic grafts. This Idea, Development, Exploration, Assessment, and Long-term (IDEAL) phase 1 study aims to review the clinical results of reconstruction using a synthetic braided cross-linked graft secured at either end with an Endobutton to restore the force balance between the bones of the forearm.


An independent retrospective review was conducted of a consecutive series of 21 patients with longitudinal instability injuries treated with anatomical central band reconstruction between February 2011 and July 2019. Patients with less than 12 months’ follow-up or who were treated acutely were excluded, leaving 18 patients in total. Preoperative clinical and radiological assessments were compared with prospectively gathered data using range of motion and the abbreviated version of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire (QuickDASH) functional outcome score.


Of the 18 patients (nine male, nine female) who met the inclusion criteria, the median follow-up was 8.5 years (interquartile range (IQR) 5.6 to 10). Their mean age was 49 years (SD 11). The mean extension improved significantly from 38° (SD 15°) to 24° (SD 9°) (p = 0.027), with a mean flexion-extension arc change from 81° (SD 27°) to 93° (SD 30°) (p = 0.172) but with no forearm rotational improvement (p = 0.233) at latest follow-up. The QuickDASH functional score improved significantly from 80 (SD 14) to 52 (SD 26) following reconstruction (p = 0.031), but generally the level of disability remains high. Radiological assessment showed no progression of proximal migration of the radius, with a stable interbutton distance and ulnar variance from immediate postoperative radiograph to the latest follow-up.


Central band interosseus membrane reconstruction using a synthetic braided cross-linked graft can improve patient-rated arm function and range of motion, but significant functional deficits remain in patients with chronic injuries.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2024;106-B(2):182–188.

Correspondence should be sent to Adam C. Watts. E-mail:

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