Editor's Choice| Volume 48, ISSUE 2, P117-125, February 2023

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Lateral Ulnar Collateral Ligament Repair With Suture-Tape Augmentation for Traumatic Elbow Instability

Published:December 18, 2022DOI:


      Ligament repair with suture-tape augmentation has been used in the operative treatment of joint instability and may have advantages with respect to early motion and stability. The purpose of this investigation was to describe the clinical results of traumatic elbow instability treated with lateral ulnar collateral ligament repair with suture-tape augmentation.


      All cases of acute and chronic elbow instability treated surgically between 2018 and 2020 were included if they underwent ligament repair with suture-tape augmentation of the lateral ulnar collateral ligament as part of the procedure. Cases with <6 months of follow-up were excluded. A manual chart review was performed to record patient demographics as well as injury and surgery characteristics. Radiographic outcomes, range of motion, and patient-reported outcome measures, including the visual analog pain scale and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand, were recorded. Range of motion measurements were recorded at the end of the clinical follow-up, as were surgical complications.


      Eighteen cases were included with a mean follow-up of 20 months. Five (28%) cases involved a high-energy mechanism, and 11 (62%) cases involved terrible triad fracture dislocations. The mean Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire and visual analog pain scale scores were 17 and 2, respectively. The mean flexion-extension arc was 124°, and 2 (11%) cases had <100° flexion-extension arc. There were 2 (11%) postoperative complications, and both cases had postoperative instability requiring reoperation. We observed no cases of capitellar erosion from the suture-tape material.


      For complex elbow instability, ligament repair with suture-tape augmentation of the lateral ulnar collateral ligament results in acceptable functional outcomes and a reoperation rate comparable with other joint stabilization procedures.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Therapeutic IV.

      Key words

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