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Elbow Dislocation
Kirkland W. Davis, MD, FACR; Andrew Sonin, MD, FACR
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KEY FACTS

  • Terminology

    • Imaging

      • Top Differential Diagnoses

        • Pathology

          • Clinical Issues

            • Diagnostic Checklist

              TERMINOLOGY

              • Synonyms

                • Ulnohumeral dislocation
              • Definitions

                • Ulna dislocated relative to humerus
                  • Ulnar dislocation is usually associated with radiocapitellar joint (RCJ) dislocation
                  • Isolated dislocation of ulna is unusual
                • Isolated RCJ dislocation is not true elbow dislocation
                  • Can occur in children
                    • Nursemaid's elbow = subluxation/dislocation of RCJ
                  • Rare in adults
                    • Often associated with proximal ulna fracture = Monteggia injury
                  • Complex elbow dislocation = dislocation with fractures
                • Perched elbow = near-complete dislocation, trochlea perched on coronoid process
                  • Uncommon
                  • Usually substantial ligament injury

              IMAGING

              • General Features

                • Radiographic Findings

                  • CT Findings

                    • MR Findings

                      • Imaging Recommendations

                        DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS

                          PATHOLOGY

                          • General Features

                            • Staging, Grading, & Classification

                              CLINICAL ISSUES

                              • Presentation

                                • Demographics

                                  • Natural History & Prognosis

                                    • Treatment

                                      DIAGNOSTIC CHECKLIST

                                      • Consider

                                        • Image Interpretation Pearls

                                          • Reporting Tips

                                            Selected References

                                            1. Hanlon DP et al: The emergent evaluation and treatment of elbow and forearm injuries. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 38(1):81-102, 2020
                                            2. Rezaie N et al: Elbow dislocation. Clin Sports Med. 39(3):637-55, 2020
                                            3. Chin TY et al: The acutely injured elbow. Radiol Clin North Am. 57(5):911-30, 2019
                                            4. Kani KK et al: Terrible triad injuries of the elbow. Emerg Radiol. 26(3):341-7, 2019
                                            5. Grazette AJ et al: The assessment and management of simple elbow dislocations. Open Orthop J. 11:1373-9, 2017
                                            6. Jones ADR et al: Complex elbow dislocations and the "terrible triad" injury. Open Orthop J. 11:1394-404, 2017
                                            7. Jennings JD et al: Management of adult elbow fracture dislocations. Orthop Clin North Am. 47(1):97-113, 2016
                                            8. Little KJ: Elbow fractures and dislocations. Orthop Clin North Am. 45(3):327-40, 2014
                                            9. Wang ML et al: Management of radial head fracture with elbow dislocation. J Hand Surg Am. 40(4):813-6, 2014
                                            10. Dodds SD et al: Terrible triad of the elbow. Orthop Clin North Am. 44(1):47-58, 2013
                                            11. Englert C et al: Elbow dislocations: a review ranging from soft tissue injuries to complex elbow fracture dislocations. Adv Orthop. 2013:951397, 2013
                                            12. Wang X et al: Anteromedial coronoid facet fractures. Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol. 23(3):251-5, 2013
                                            13. Zellner B et al: Elbow injuries in the young athlete-an orthopedic perspective. Pediatr Radiol. 43 Suppl 1:129-34, 2013
                                            14. Kaas L et al: Treatment of Mason type II radial head fractures without associated fractures or elbow dislocation: a systematic review. J Hand Surg Am. 37(7):1416-21, 2012
                                            15. Athwal GS et al: Fractures and dislocations of the elbow: a return to the basics. Instr Course Lect. 60:199-214, 2011
                                            16. de Haan J et al: Simple elbow dislocations: a systematic review of the literature. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 130(2):241-9, 2010
                                            17. Parsons BO et al: Acute elbow dislocations in athletes. Clin Sports Med. 29(4):599-609, 2010
                                            18. Guitton TG et al: Anterior olecranon fracture-dislocations of the elbow in children. A report of four cases. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 91(6):1487-90, 2009
                                            19. Morrey BF: Current concepts in the management of complex elbow trauma. Surgeon. 7(3):151-61, 2009
                                            20. Seijas R et al: Terrible triad of the elbow. J Orthop Surg (Hong Kong). 17(3):335-9, 2009
                                            21. Dipaola M et al: Complex elbow instability. Hand Clin. 24(1):39-52, 2008
                                            22. Hobgood ER et al: Acute dislocations of the adult elbow. Hand Clin. 24(1):1-7, 2008
                                            23. Kuhn MA et al: Acute elbow dislocations. Orthop Clin North Am. 39(2):155-61, v, 2008
                                            24. Lyons RP et al: Chronically unreduced elbow dislocations. Hand Clin. 24(1):91-103, 2008
                                            25. Martin BD et al: Complications related to simple dislocations of the elbow. Hand Clin. 24(1):9-25, 2008
                                            26. Tashjian RZ et al: Complex elbow instability. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 14(5):278-86, 2006
                                            27. Chung CB et al: Magnetic resonance imaging of elbow instability. Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 9(1):67-76, 2005
                                            28. Pacelli LL et al: Elbow instability: the orthopedic approach. Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 9(1):56-66, 2005
                                            29. Saati AZ et al: Fracture-dislocation of the elbow: diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Hand Clin. 20(4):405-14, 2004
                                            Related Anatomy
                                            Loading...
                                            Related Differential Diagnoses
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                                            References
                                            Tables

                                            Tables

                                            KEY FACTS

                                            • Terminology

                                              • Imaging

                                                • Top Differential Diagnoses

                                                  • Pathology

                                                    • Clinical Issues

                                                      • Diagnostic Checklist

                                                        TERMINOLOGY

                                                        • Synonyms

                                                          • Ulnohumeral dislocation
                                                        • Definitions

                                                          • Ulna dislocated relative to humerus
                                                            • Ulnar dislocation is usually associated with radiocapitellar joint (RCJ) dislocation
                                                            • Isolated dislocation of ulna is unusual
                                                          • Isolated RCJ dislocation is not true elbow dislocation
                                                            • Can occur in children
                                                              • Nursemaid's elbow = subluxation/dislocation of RCJ
                                                            • Rare in adults
                                                              • Often associated with proximal ulna fracture = Monteggia injury
                                                            • Complex elbow dislocation = dislocation with fractures
                                                          • Perched elbow = near-complete dislocation, trochlea perched on coronoid process
                                                            • Uncommon
                                                            • Usually substantial ligament injury

                                                        IMAGING

                                                        • General Features

                                                          • Radiographic Findings

                                                            • CT Findings

                                                              • MR Findings

                                                                • Imaging Recommendations

                                                                  DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS

                                                                    PATHOLOGY

                                                                    • General Features

                                                                      • Staging, Grading, & Classification

                                                                        CLINICAL ISSUES

                                                                        • Presentation

                                                                          • Demographics

                                                                            • Natural History & Prognosis

                                                                              • Treatment

                                                                                DIAGNOSTIC CHECKLIST

                                                                                • Consider

                                                                                  • Image Interpretation Pearls

                                                                                    • Reporting Tips

                                                                                      Selected References

                                                                                      1. Hanlon DP et al: The emergent evaluation and treatment of elbow and forearm injuries. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 38(1):81-102, 2020
                                                                                      2. Rezaie N et al: Elbow dislocation. Clin Sports Med. 39(3):637-55, 2020
                                                                                      3. Chin TY et al: The acutely injured elbow. Radiol Clin North Am. 57(5):911-30, 2019
                                                                                      4. Kani KK et al: Terrible triad injuries of the elbow. Emerg Radiol. 26(3):341-7, 2019
                                                                                      5. Grazette AJ et al: The assessment and management of simple elbow dislocations. Open Orthop J. 11:1373-9, 2017
                                                                                      6. Jones ADR et al: Complex elbow dislocations and the "terrible triad" injury. Open Orthop J. 11:1394-404, 2017
                                                                                      7. Jennings JD et al: Management of adult elbow fracture dislocations. Orthop Clin North Am. 47(1):97-113, 2016
                                                                                      8. Little KJ: Elbow fractures and dislocations. Orthop Clin North Am. 45(3):327-40, 2014
                                                                                      9. Wang ML et al: Management of radial head fracture with elbow dislocation. J Hand Surg Am. 40(4):813-6, 2014
                                                                                      10. Dodds SD et al: Terrible triad of the elbow. Orthop Clin North Am. 44(1):47-58, 2013
                                                                                      11. Englert C et al: Elbow dislocations: a review ranging from soft tissue injuries to complex elbow fracture dislocations. Adv Orthop. 2013:951397, 2013
                                                                                      12. Wang X et al: Anteromedial coronoid facet fractures. Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol. 23(3):251-5, 2013
                                                                                      13. Zellner B et al: Elbow injuries in the young athlete-an orthopedic perspective. Pediatr Radiol. 43 Suppl 1:129-34, 2013
                                                                                      14. Kaas L et al: Treatment of Mason type II radial head fractures without associated fractures or elbow dislocation: a systematic review. J Hand Surg Am. 37(7):1416-21, 2012
                                                                                      15. Athwal GS et al: Fractures and dislocations of the elbow: a return to the basics. Instr Course Lect. 60:199-214, 2011
                                                                                      16. de Haan J et al: Simple elbow dislocations: a systematic review of the literature. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 130(2):241-9, 2010
                                                                                      17. Parsons BO et al: Acute elbow dislocations in athletes. Clin Sports Med. 29(4):599-609, 2010
                                                                                      18. Guitton TG et al: Anterior olecranon fracture-dislocations of the elbow in children. A report of four cases. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 91(6):1487-90, 2009
                                                                                      19. Morrey BF: Current concepts in the management of complex elbow trauma. Surgeon. 7(3):151-61, 2009
                                                                                      20. Seijas R et al: Terrible triad of the elbow. J Orthop Surg (Hong Kong). 17(3):335-9, 2009
                                                                                      21. Dipaola M et al: Complex elbow instability. Hand Clin. 24(1):39-52, 2008
                                                                                      22. Hobgood ER et al: Acute dislocations of the adult elbow. Hand Clin. 24(1):1-7, 2008
                                                                                      23. Kuhn MA et al: Acute elbow dislocations. Orthop Clin North Am. 39(2):155-61, v, 2008
                                                                                      24. Lyons RP et al: Chronically unreduced elbow dislocations. Hand Clin. 24(1):91-103, 2008
                                                                                      25. Martin BD et al: Complications related to simple dislocations of the elbow. Hand Clin. 24(1):9-25, 2008
                                                                                      26. Tashjian RZ et al: Complex elbow instability. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 14(5):278-86, 2006
                                                                                      27. Chung CB et al: Magnetic resonance imaging of elbow instability. Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 9(1):67-76, 2005
                                                                                      28. Pacelli LL et al: Elbow instability: the orthopedic approach. Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 9(1):56-66, 2005
                                                                                      29. Saati AZ et al: Fracture-dislocation of the elbow: diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Hand Clin. 20(4):405-14, 2004