The floating radial head prosthesis for comminuted radial head fractures: a multicentric study.

Published online: Oct 27 2000

S Smets, K Govaers, N Jansen, R Van Riet, M Schaap, and F Van Glabbeek.

Department of Orthopedics and Trauma, University Hospital, Antwerp, Belgium.


We report our experience with the floating radial head prosthesis of Judet for comminuted fractures of the radial head. We present the results in 15 patients with a mean follow-up of 25.2 months. Thirteen prostheses were inserted for acute Mason III fractures of the radial head, and 2 were inserted for chronic problems after radial head fracture. According to the Mayo Elbow Performance Index there were 7 excellent, 3 good, 1 fair and 2 poor results in the group with acute injuries. In this group, one prosthesis was removed after 8 months for severely decreased elbow function. In the group with chronic problems, there were 2 fair results. There were no dislocations or prosthesis fractures. None of the prostheses showed signs of loosening. Three patients in the acute group developed wrist pain, and in one patient in the chronic group, preexisting wrist pain disappeared after insertion of the radial head prosthesis. Our short-term results suggest that the floating radial head prosthesis is a suitable solution for early or delayed treatment of Mason type III fractures, either isolated or associated with more complex injuries.