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Elbow Fractures

Treatment of the orthopedic trauma injuries is a highly specialized field that deals with a broad set of conditions and symptoms. Using the latest diagnostic and treatment techniques, Dr. Balaguer can successfully treat your upper extremity injury.

Elbow Fractures
Radial Head Fractures

Radial head fractures are common injuries and are more frequent in women than men. 


The most common symptoms of a radial head fracture include:

 - Pain and tenderness along lateral aspect of elbow

 - Swelling in the elbow joint

 - Limited elbow or forearm motion 

Physical Exam

On examination, there may be tenderness on palpation over the lateral aspect of elbow and radial head. Other clinical features include elbow effusion or limited supination and pronation movements. 


Plain x-rays are recommended as initial imaging. CT imaging can be useful in evaluating more complex injuries and degree of comminution. 


Conservative treatment is sufficient in case of simpler fractures when bone fragments are not displaced or minimally displaced, and when they do not impact on the joint function. The nonsurgical treatment involves using a splint or sling for up to 2 weeks, followed by range-of-motion exercises.

Operative treatment options include:

 - Open reduction and internal fixation

 -- worse outcome with three or more fragments 

 - Radial head arthroplasty

 -- comminuted fractures with three or more fragments

 -- involves greater than 25 percent of the radial head

 -- have good clinical outcomes

Patients can expect a good prognosis following a radial head fracture. 

Elbow Fractures
Olecranon Fractures

Fractures of the olecranon are a frequent consequence of falls when striking a hard surface with the elbow. They result from high-energy trauma in young population and low-energy falls in the elderly.


The symptoms of an olecranon fracture include:

 - Inability to extend the elbow

 - Palpable defect

 - Pain well localized to posterior elbow


Plain x-rays are the first radiological method to evaluate the severity of olecranon fracture. A CT scan may be useful for preoperative planning in comminuted fractures.


Non-displaced olecranon fractures can be treated with a splint to hold the elbow in place during healing. 

Surgery is required in more complicated and displaced olecranon fractures:

 - Excellent results

 - High percentage of second surgeries for hardware removal

Full recovery from an olecranon fracture requires a good effort at rehabilitation.

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The Miami Institute for Joint Reconstruction
11801 sw 90th St, Suite 201 Miami, FL 3318
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