Elbow anatomy and radiographic diagnosis of elbow fracture in children
- Leticia Manning Ryan, MD, MPH, FAAP
Leticia Manning Ryan, MD, MPH, FAAP
- Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
- Division of Emergency Medicine
- Johns Hopkins Children's Center
- Section Editor
- Richard G Bachur, MD
Richard G Bachur, MD
- Section Editor — Pediatric Trauma
- Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine
- Harvard Medical School
- Deputy Editor
- James F Wiley, II, MD, MPH
James F Wiley, II, MD, MPH
- Senior Deputy Editor — UpToDate
- Deputy Editor — Adult and Pediatric Emergency Medicine
- Deputy Editor — Primary Care Sports Medicine (Adolescents and Adults)
- Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine/Traumatology
- University of Connecticut School of Medicine
Knowledge of anatomy, normal bony development, and radiographic features of the pediatric elbow are essential to prompt recognition and treatment of elbow injuries in children. In most instances, plain radiographs are adequate to detect fractures that pose a threat to future growth and function. On occasion, additional modalities (eg, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, or arthrography) are needed to identify and fully delineate elbow fractures, especially in infants and young children.
This review discusses the anatomy, plain radiographic views, and radiographic interpretation of the pediatric elbow. Findings pertinent to specific elbow fractures in children are discussed in more detail separately. (See "Evaluation and management of supracondylar fractures in children" and "Evaluation and management of condylar elbow fractures in children" and "Epicondylar and transphyseal elbow fractures in children".)
●Ulnohumeral – Between the trochlea of the humerus and the olecranon of the ulna
●Radiohumeral – Between the capitellum of the humerus and the radial head
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- PERTINENT ANATOMY
- Elbow joint
- Ossification centers
- Growth plate (physis)
- Vascular anatomy
- Nerve anatomy
- PLAIN RADIOGRAPHIC VIEWS
- PLAIN RADIOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
- Normal ossification
- Anterior humeral line
- Radial head alignment
- Fat pads
- - Anterior fat pad
- - Posterior fat pad
- Carrying angle
- FURTHER IMAGING
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS
- Interpreting elbow radiographs