Elbow fractures / dislocation / injuries
The elbow is commonly injured following a fall on to the outstretched arm. These type of injuries affect all ages from children through to the very elderly. No matter what the injury, the key to a successful outcome is to mobilise the elbow early to prevent stiffness. If the elbow is unstable, then surgery must be undertaken to stabilise the elbow to allow early range of movement.
The elbow is made up of three bones and three joints. The humerus, ulna and radius move in a particular way to produce bending and straightening the elbow, and turning movement to place the palm of the hand face up and down. There are many different fractures around the elbow. Most can be managed without surgery but some injuries require surgery to ensure a satisfactory outcome.
Elbow dislocation is very common and the vast majority do not require any surgical intervention; these are dislocations without an associated fracture (so-called “simple” dislocations). In “complex” dislocations or those with an associated fracture, surgery is more commonly undertaken to stabilise the elbow to allow early range of movement.
A number of patients do not present with a dislocation or an obvious fracture but still clearly have a problem with the elbow after an injury. Occasionally further imaging tests are requested to confirm the diagnosis.
Mr Sam Vollans
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
I graduated from the University of Leeds and completed my specialist training in Yorkshire. Following this, I undertook further training in both elective and trauma shoulder & elbow surgery within the UK and Europe with many renowned surgeons.
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