This is a cadaveric study in which the authors attempted to document the role of the posterior olecranon in the transmission of strain across the ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow. They sequentially resected 4mm segments of the posterior olecranon and then loaded the elbow at 70º and 90º of flexion. They found that significantly more strain occurred on the ulnar collateral ligament at 90º when compared to 70º of elbow flexion. In addition, they found that 8mm and 12mm of resection of the olecranon did not significantly change the strain on the ulnar collateral ligament.
The significance of this article is that the role of the olecranon process in preventing transmission of valgus load to the medial collateral ligament has been questioned. Concern has been that resection of osteophytes on the olecranon process could result in increased strain on the ulnar collateral ligament. The result of this study suggests the insufficiency of the elbow may have resulted in the osteophyte formation on the olecranon, and that removal of these osteophytes does not significantly increase the strain on the medial collateral ligament.
Journal of Shoulder & Elbow Surgery