A Complicated Course of a Coronal Shear Fracture Type IV of the Distal Part of Humerus Resulting in Resurfacing Radiocapitellar Joint Replacement

Ingo Schmidt*
SRH Poliklinik Gera Gmbh, Straße des Friedens 122, Gera 07548, Germany

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© 2017 Ingo Schmidt.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author the SRH Poliklinik Gera GmbH, Straße des Friedens 122, Gera 07548, Germany, Tel: 122-07548; Email:



Coronal shear fracture type IV of the distal part of humerus is a very rare injury with articular complexity potentially leading to posttraumatic osteoarthritis. One option for surgical treatment of advanced unicompartmental radiocapitellar osteoarthritis is resurfacing radiocapitellar joint replacement.


A 62-year- old female sustained a coronal shear fracture type IV of the distal part of left humerus that was primarily treated with open reduction and internal fixation using headless compression screws. Three years postoperatively, there was a migration of one screw into radiocapitellar joint that led to circular deep cartilage defect of radial head. Four years after ORIF, a distinctive radiocapitellar osteoarthritis has evolved leading to a resurfacing radiocapitellar joint replacement using the Lateral Resurfacing ElbowTM (LRE) system.


At the 2-year follow-up after that procedure, there was an excellent subjective and functional outcome. Radiographically, no loosening or subsidence of implant without any signs of overstuffing could be found. The patient reported that she would have the same procedure again.


The goal of unicompartmental radiocapitellar replacement is to obtain stability in elbow joint by avoiding cubitus valgus with subsequent instability of the distal radioulnar joint, and it does not alter the unaffected ulnohumeral joint. Additionally, the feature of the LRETM system is that the radial head is not excised, and so will receive the anatomical length of the overall radius articulating with the capitellum by preserving the annular ligament. In the literature only three publications could be found in which short-term results with the use of the LRETM system have been described. Hence, further studies are needed to validate this concept.

Keywords: Coronal shear fracture, Elbow, Headless compression screw, Posttraumatic osteoarthritis, Radiocapitellar joint, Unicompartmental resurfacing joint arthroplasty.