International Orthopaedics

, Volume 43, Issue 7, pp 1643–1651 | Cite as

Radial head arthroplasty: a historical perspective

  • Pierre LaumonerieEmail author
  • Meagan E. Tibbo
  • Nicolas Reina
  • Thuy Trang Pham
  • Nicolas Bonnevialle
  • Pierre Mansat
Review Article


There has been lively debate regarding the rationale behind the use of radial head arthroplasty (RHA) for more than 80 years. Currently, its primary indication is for treatment of non-reconstructible RH fractures. The first RH implant, released in 1941, was a ferrul cap used to prevent heterotopic ossification. Biomechanical studies in the 1980s stimulated a revolution in RHA design by promoting modular implants that replicated the native bony anatomy of the elbow. Subsequent data-driven evolution in design led to the creation of a variety of devices that also accommodated for common ligamentous injuries occurring at the time of RH fracture. Despite significant advances in our understanding of complex elbow instability, improvements in implant design have to make RHA the gold standard for treatment of non-reconstructible RH fractures. The challenge in the coming years will be to perform high-level clinical studies in order to obtain consensus regarding the most appropriate treatment for comminuted RH fractures.


Radial head arthroplasty Mason III fractures Implant Biomechanics History 



We would like to thank Dr. BF Morrey for sharing with us the photographs.

Authors’ contribution

Conception and design: Laumonerie

Acquisition of data: Laumonerie

Analysis and interpretation of data: all authors

Critically revising the article: all authors

Reviewed submitted version of manuscript: all authors

Approved the final version of the manuscript on behalf of all authors: Mansat

Administrative/ technical/ material support: Mansat

Study supervision: Mansat

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was not needed for this literature review.


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Copyright information

© SICOT aisbl 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut LocomoteurHôpital Pierre-Paul RiquetToulouseFrance
  2. 2.Mayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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