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Early failure of silicone radial head implants in the rheumatoid elbow. A complication of silicone radial head implant arthroplasty

, : Early failure of silicone radial head implants in the rheumatoid elbow. A complication of silicone radial head implant arthroplasty. Journal of Arthroplasty 6(1): 59-65

Three cases of early recurrent synovitis of the rheumatoid elbow following silicone radial head implant arthroplasty are presented. All three patients underwent synovectomy with silicone radial head implant for pain and loss of function due to rheumatoid synovitis. All three implants failed within 4-9 months after surgery. This failure was associated with radiographic medial joint space widening. At reexploration, recurrent synovitis with hemosiderin pigmentation was noted. Patterns of prosthetic failure included fracture, fraying, and compressive deformation or rotary wear ("motar and pestle") of the silicone radial head; a prosthetic stem fracture was also present. Histologic examination of the synovium revealed evidence of silicone-induced synovitis; particulate, refractile silicone debris was associated with inflammatory and foreign body giant cells. The presence of rheumatoid destruction of the joint surface may have accelerated this process and may be a relative contraindication to silicone radial head implant arthroplasty.


PMID: 2016609

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