Functional Postoperative Outcome for 92 Cases of Radial Head Fractures: A PROM-Based Retrospective Study

Michael Müller, Verena Mann, Julian Zapf, Konstantin Kirchhoff, Michael Zyskowski, Peter Biberthaler, Chlodwig Kirchhoff, Markus Wurm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Fractures of the radial head are common injuries, whereas, in the case of displaced fractures, surgical treatment using screw or plate osteosynthesis, excision, or replacement of the radial head is required. However, data about patient-related outcomes (PROM) for different types of radial head fractures is limited in the current literature. Therefore, this study was conducted to evaluate the functional outcome after operatively treated radial head fractures and to further correlate these results with the initial modified Mason classification. Methods: In this retrospective study, all suitable patients with surgical treatment of a radial head fracture were identified. Only patients with Mason II-IV fractures were included. All patients completed the Elbow Self-Assessment Score (ESAS) questionnaire. Data on fracture classification, type of surgery, and revision operations (if needed) were assessed. Results: A total of 92 patients suffering from fractures of the radial head (57 Mason II, 35 Mason III-fractures) who were operatively treated at our institution were enrolled. There were 42 (47.7%) female and 50 (54.3%) male patients with an average age of 47.5 ± 14.1 years. Screw osteosynthesis was performed in 67 patients, plate osteosynthesis in 20 patients, and five patients received radial head arthroplasty. The average ESAS score accounted for 89.7 ± 16.7. Mason II fractures showed significantly better functional results with higher ESAS scores (92.3 ± 13.9 vs. 85.4 ± 20.1) as well as significantly lower rates of necessary implant removal (0 vs. 5 (14.3%) than Mason III fractures. Screw osteosynthesis showed significantly better functional ESAS scores, 91.0 ± 16.5, than plate osteosynthesis, with 85.3 ± 17.6 (p = 0.041), but was predominantly used in Mason II fractures. Conclusions: Surgical treatment using screw- and plate osteosynthesis of radial head fractures provides a good overall outcome. The postoperative function is associated with the initial Mason classification as the patients’ reported outcome was worse in Mason III fractures compared to Mason type II fractures. In this context, the ESAS score can be considered a useful tool for the assessment of the patient-based functional outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5870
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • ESAS
  • patient-reported outcome
  • proximal radius


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