The GSB III elbow prosthesis is a loose-hinged type of elbow implant. The introduction of such hinged elbow arthroplasty expanded the indications for elbow replacement to patients with more deficient bone and ligaments. The purpose of this study was to compare the kinematics and stability of the GSB III elbow prosthesis with that of the normal elbow and to investigate the role of the collateral ligaments in the kinematics and the stability of the GSB III total elbow prosthesis in an in vitro model. The results could show a semiconstrained kinematic pattern of the GSB III implant. The mean laxity for varus/valgus stress of the implant without collateral ligament support was significantly greater for all flexion angles when compared with intact elbows (mean, 12.7° versus 5.4°) and with elbows treated with a standard implantation technique (mean, 9.5°). The release of the collateral ligaments increased the already observed varus shift after standard implantation of a GSB III elbow prosthesis. The laxity measured without collateral ligaments during loaded movement reached the maximum varus/valgus laxity of the GSB III prosthesis of 12° degrees. The study confirms the role of the collateral ligaments in stabilizing the GSB III elbow prosthesis. Missing collateral ligaments may overload the implant-cement-bone interface and may be one factor contributing to early aseptic loosening of this device.
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