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Upper Limb

Souter-Strathclyde total elbow arthroplasty


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We have reviewed 66 consecutive Souter-Strathclyde arthroplasties of the elbow implanted in 59 patients between 1982 and 1993. Thirteen patients (15 elbows) (19.6%) died. Sixteen elbows (24.2%) were revised, six for aseptic loosening (9%), four (6%) because of fracture or loosening after a fracture, three (4.5%) for infection and three (4.5%) for dislocation. Four patients refused to attend for review.

In 33 elbows with a follow-up of 93 months (60 to 167) complete relief of pain was achieved in 22 (67%) when seen at one year. After ten years or more 36% of the elbows were painfree and 64% had occasional slight pain especially under loading or stress. The mean gain in the arc of movement was 16°, but a mean flexion contracture of 33° remained. The main early complications were intraoperative fractures of the epicondyles (9%), postoperative dislocation (4.5%) and ulnar neuropathy. The incidence of ulnar neuropathy before operation was 19%. After operation 20 patients (33%) had an ulnar neuropathy, in seven of which it had been present before operation, and of these weakness of the hypothenar muscle occurred in two. The probability of survival of the Souter-Strathclyde elbow prosthesis based on the Kaplan-Meier calculation is 69% at ten years.

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