Computational elbow joint models, capable of simulating medial collateral ligament deficiency, can be extremely valuable tools for surgical planning and refinement of therapeutic strategies. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of varying levels of medial collateral ligament deficiency on elbow joint stability using subject-specific computational models. Two elbow joint models were placed at the pronated forearm position and passively flexed by applying a vertical downward motion on humeral head. The models included three-dimensional bone geometries, multiple ligament bundles wrapped around the joint, and the discretized cartilage representation. Four different ligament conditions were simulated: All intact ligaments, isolated medial collateral ligament (MCL) anterior bundle deficiency, isolated MCL posterior bundle deficiency, and complete MCL deficiency. Minimal kinematic differences were observed for isolated anterior and posterior bundle deficient elbows. However, sectioning the entire MCL resulted in significant kinematic differences and induced substantial elbow instability. Joint contact areas were nearly similar for the intact and isolated posterior bundle deficiency. Minor differences were observed for the isolated anterior bundle deficiency, and major differences were observed for the entire MCL deficiency. Complete elbow dislocations were not observed for any ligament deficiency level. As expected, during isolated anterior bundle deficiency, the remaining posterior bundle experiences higher load and vice versa. Overall, the results indicate that either MCL anterior or posterior bundle can provide anterior elbow stability, but the anterior bundle has a somewhat bigger influence on joint kinematics and contact characteristics than posterior one. A study with a larger sample size could help to strengthen the conclusion and statistical significant.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited