Increased articular exposure of the lateral elbow joint with the anconeus approach compared to the Kocher approach: a cadaver study

Holt S. Cutler, Drew Kelly, Bruno Gross, Dustin Rinehart, Brandon R. Hull, Drew Sanders, Adam Starr, Ashoke Sathy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction: The Kocher approach is the workhorse approach to the lateral elbow. However, the exposure is often limited, particularly for open reduction. The purpose of this study is to quantitatively compare the articular exposure of the anconeus and Kocher approaches to the lateral elbow. Methods: Eight surgical approaches (four Kocher and four Anconeus) were performed on four fresh cadavers. The right elbows of the first two specimens were dissected via the Kocher approach, and the left elbows via the anconeus approach. For the remaining two specimens, the laterality of the approaches was reversed. Access to key articular landmarks were assessed, including the capitellum, humeral trochlea, radial head, olecranon, coronoid process, and greater and lesser sigmoid notches of the ulna. A calibrated digital image was taken from the optimum surgeon’s viewing angle of each approach, and these images were analyzed with ImageJ software (NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA) to calculate the area of exposed articular surfaces. Results: The average surface area exposed was 2.9 times greater with the anconeus approach compared with the standard Kocher approach (8.3 vs 3.1 cm2, p value 0.001). All key anatomic landmarks were directly visualized with the anconeus approach in each specimen. Visualization of the humeral trochlea, olecranon, coronoid process, and greater and lesser sigmoid notches of the ulna was not obtained in any of the Kocher approaches. Discussion: The Anconeus approach provides superior exposure of the lateral elbow joint compared with the Kocher approach. We recommend consideration of the anconeus approach for treatment of select traumatic injuries of the lateral elbow requiring increased access to the ulnohumeral and radiocapitellar joints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalArchives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Anconeus approach
  • Elbow
  • Kocher approach
  • Radial head fracture
  • Surgical approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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