Radial axial interosseous load (RAIL) test for essex lopresti type injuries

Zachary C. Lum, Eric G. Huish, Marc A. Trzeciak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: When approaching radial head and neck fractures, the decision for ORIF, resection, or arthroplasty is often performed intraoperatively. Factors that contribute include ligamentous and bony stability, cartilage injury, mechanical alignment as well as patient factors. Recent data has suggested conventional methods may not be sufficiently sensitive in detecting Essex Lopresti injuries. Here we describe an intraoperative technique that could objectively assess proximal radio-ulnar stability with subsequent disruption of the ligamentous structures. Methods: Eight cadaveric specimens were used to evaluate amount of radial proximal migration between three groups of forearms. After radial head resection, proximal migration of the radial shaft was measured in three distinct groups. Group A included intact forearms, Group B included forearms with resected interosseous membranes (IOM), and Group C included forearms with resected interosseous membranes and distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) disruptions. Results: As compared to group A, group B averaged 4 mm of proximal radial migration (p < 0.01), while Group C demonstrated >6 mm of migration (p < 0.01). Conclusion: In the setting of a non-repairable radial head, the RAIL test may provide a more objective means of assessing for Essex-Lopresti injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-80
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Orthopaedics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Essex lopresti
  • Interosseous membrane
  • Proximal radial migration
  • RAIL
  • Radial head

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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