Elbow Fractures

What are Elbow Fractures? 

There are many different types of fractures that can occur in and around the elbow joint. The severity and location of the fracture will determine the course of treatment. Distal humerus fractures account for about 2% of fractures in adults. Treatment depends on the level of displacement, fracture location, and involvement of neurovascular structures. Stable nondisplaced fractures may be treated with splinting, but more commonly distal humerus fractures are displaced and require open reduction and internal fixation.

Olecranon fractures are fractures of the bony prominence of the posterior elbow. These fractures may also be associated with elbow dislocations. Non displaced fractures may be treated with splinting. Displaced fractures are usually indicated for surgery and early range of motion is encouraged to avoid stiffness.

Radial head and neck fractures usually result from a fall on an outstretched hand. These fractures are classified into three types in the Mason classification. Type I fractures are nondisplaced, Type II fractures are displaced greater than 2mm at the articular surface or angulated neck fractures, Type III fractures are severely comminuted fractures of the head and neck. Type I fractures are usually treated conservatively with splinting and early range of motion as tolerated. Type II and III fractures are usually treated with open reduction and internal fixation. On some occasion with severe comminution a radial head replacement may be indicated.

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