It travels across the back of the radial head–another bone in the forearm. The LUCLs job is to keep the elbow from sliding out of place while putting stress on the joint. For instance, patients may experience problems from a stretched or torn LUCL when pushing themselves out of a chair. A loose or unstable lateral ulnar collateral ligament results in an elbow that won’t stay in place through the entire range of motion. Patients in Manchester, South Windsor, Enfield, Glastonbury and surrounding Hartford communities may feel the elbow slide out of place while attempting certain activities. Dr. James Mazzara, elbow surgeon, can treat patients who have this problem with a surgical procedure called lateral ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction.
What is a lateral ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction?
After an elbow dislocation, when the elbow is put back in place, the LUCL will usually heal enough on its own that it does not need to be fixed with surgery. On occasion, however, the LUCL will remain loose, resulting in an unstable elbow that will not keep the elbow in its proper position. In these cases, the most reliable way to treat this injury is by performing a lateral ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction.
Depending on the patient and the LUCL injury, Dr. Mazzara can perform this treatment with a minimally invasive repair surgery. Dr. Mazzara will reconstruct the damaged ligament with a tissue graft. An autograft is taken from the patient, from another part of the body (usually the forearm, wrist or knee) or an allograft can be used from a donated tendon. The new tendon is passed through bone tunnels, made by Dr. Mazzara, where the torn ligament was attached on the humerus (arm bone) and ulna (forearm bone.) The new tendon creates a loop that is sewn back together and anchored in the elbow in a procedure called a docking technique.