Dual Bracing for Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injuries Restores Native Valgus Laxity and Native Medial Joint Gapping of the Elbow.

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Orthopaedic journal of sports medicine


BACKGROUND: Despite growing evidence on the role of the posterior ulnar collateral ligament (pUCL) in elbow stability, current ligament bracing techniques are mainly focused on the anterior ulnar collateral ligament (aUCL). A dual-bracing technique combines the repair of the pUCL and aUCL with a suture augmentation of both bundles.

PURPOSE: To biomechanically assess a dual-bracing approach addressing aUCL and pUCL for humeral-sided complete UCL lesions to restore medial elbow laxity without overconstraining.

STUDY DESIGN: Controlled laboratory study.

METHODS: A total of 21 unpaired human elbows (11 right, 10 left; 57.19 ± 11.7 years) were randomized into 3 groups to compare dual bracing with aUCL suture augmentation and aUCL graft reconstruction. Laxity testing was performed with 25 N applied 12 cm distal to the elbow joint for 30 seconds at randomized flexion angles (0°, 30°, 60°, 90°, and 120°) for the native condition and then for each surgical technique. A calibrated motion capture system was used for assessment, allowing the 3-dimensional displacement during the complete valgus stress cycle between the optical trackers to be quantified as joint gap and laxity. The repaired constructs were then cyclically tested through a materials testing machine starting with 20 N for 200 cycles at a rate of 0.5 Hz. The load was increased stepwise by 10 N for 200 cycles until displacement reached 5.0 mm or complete failure occurred.

RESULTS: Dual bracing and aUCL bracing resulted in significantly (

CONCLUSION: Dual bracing restored native valgus joint laxity and medial joint gapping without overconstraining and provided similar primary stability regarding failure outcomes as established techniques. Furthermore, it was able to restore joint gapping in 120° of flexion significantly better than aUCL reconstruction.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This study provides biomechanical data on the dual-bracing approach that may help surgeons to consider this new method of addressing acute humeral UCL lesions.





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