Biomechanical testing of the reconstructed ulnar collateral ligament: a systematic review of the literature

B. M. Saltzman, B. J. Erickson, J. M. Frank, J. D. Harris, G. P. Nicholson, B. R. Bach, N. N. Verma, A. A. Romeo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose was to perform a systematic review of the literature investigating biomechanical studies of ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (UCLR) techniques to summarize the most commonly analyzed methods of fixation (at both the ulna and humerus), the degree of elbow flexion at the time of fixation, graft characteristics, and modes of failure with these techniques. Materials and methods: A systematic review was performed. All cadaveric biomechanical studies that tested a reconstruction method for UCLR were included. Descriptive statistics were calculated for each study and parameter/variable analyzed. Results: Twenty-three studies were included with a total of 397 elbows in 242 cadavers (mean age 54.8 ± 20 years, range 16–96). The majority of studies (65 %) used a palmaris longus graft. The docking technique (37.2 %) was the most commonly tested reconstruction method. Significant heterogeneity between studies precluded assimilation of specific techniques (each of the 23 studies utilized a unique technique). Fixation was performed at 30°–90° of elbow flexion. The most common mode of failure was suture failure (51 %), followed by midsubstance rupture (27.00 %), and bone tunnel fracture (14.00 %). No significant differences were observed amongst techniques for all measures analyzed. Conclusion: This study found the docking technique to be the most commonly tested technique, while the mode of reconstruction failure was most commonly at the suture interface. If the graft failed at the bone interface, it was most likely to occur at the ulna. Surgeon preference and comfort level with a specific technique should dictate choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-163
Number of pages7
JournalMusculoskeletal Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Biomechanical
  • Elbow
  • Systematic review
  • Tommy John
  • Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL)
  • Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (UCLR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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