Elbow Videos: Instability
- The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) complex of the elbow plays a crucial role in the stability of the elbow joint, especially to varus loads. Deficiency of particularly the lateral ulnar collateral component of the LCL can lead to chronic posterolateral rotatory instability, which can be functionally debilitating and can lead to a rapid onset of early degenerative arthritis. Commonly, in the setting of acute rupture of the LCL, the ligament is repaired using an open technique with suture anchor fixation to the lateral epicondyle insertion point.
- Reconstruction of the lateral ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow is the primary treatment for recurrent symptomatic posterolateral rotatory instability. Although a number of lateral ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction techniques have been described, the docking technique has received general acceptance. In this technique, the graft is passed through a tunnel on the ulnar side and the 2 free limbs are docked into the humerus at the isometric point on the lateral condyle. Advantages of this method of reconstruction include reduced bone removal, decreased soft tissue damage, and precise control of graft tensioning.
- Currently, a number of examination and imaging techniques exist for diagnosing posterolateral rotatory instability of the elbow. Although the posterolateral rotatory drawer is the primary examination maneuver, other special tests include the lateral pivot-shift test, prone push-up test, chair push-up test, and tabletop push-up test. In addition, posterolateral rotatory instability can be evaluated using radiography, magnetic resonance imaging, dynamic fluoroscopy, or dynamic ultrasound. In this Technical Note, each of these tests is described in detail.
- Posterolateral rotatory instability (PLRI) is the most commonly encountered pattern of elbow instability. It is the result of disruption of the lateral collateral ligament complex leading to a posterolateral rotatory subluxation of the ulna and radial head. A number of examination maneuvers have been described to assist in clinical identification of PLRI. Despite this, some inconsistency in the description of these techniques remains in the orthopaedic literature. This Technical Note details the mechanism of injury and patient presentation, and emphasizes the primacy of the posterolateral rotatory drawer test in the assessment of PLRI while providing video instruction on how it should be performed.
- Posterolateral rotatory instability (PLRI) of the elbow is a chronic condition that results from lateral collateral ligament complex injury and presents with pain, clicking, and subluxation within the flexion and extension arcs of elbow motion. The primary cause involves a lesion of the lateral collateral ligament complex and its avulsion from the lateral epicondyle. In most cases, it is the result of trauma such as a fall on an outstretched hand or any other mechanism that imparts axial compression, valgus force, and supination.
- An elongation or partial articular-sided tear of the radial lateral collateral ligament (R-LCL) is a rare injury causing disability and instability of the elbow. In our experience this condition is often associated with a pathologic sign of the annular ligament named the “annular drive through” caused by a redundancy of the ligament. The benefits of performing an arthroscopic procedure for surgical stabilization of the R-LCL include smaller incisions with less soft-tissue dissection, better visualization of the joint, better repair accessibility, and elimination of the annular drive-through sign.