The sail sign on an elbow radiograph describes the elevation of the anterior fat pad to create a silhouette similar to a billowing spinnaker sail from a boat. It indicates the presence of an elbow joint effusion.
The anterior fat pad is usually concealed within the coronoid fossa or seen paralleling the anterior humeral line. When there is a joint effusion, the anterior fat pad (which is intra-articular, but extra-synovial) becomes elevated.
Elevation of the anterior fat pad usually heralds the presence of an intra-articular fracture. In adults, this is usually a radial head fracture whereas in children, the commonest cause of a raised elbow fat pad is a supracondylar fracture.
Where a fat pad is raised and no fracture is demonstrated, an occult fracture should be suspected.
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- 4.The Thymus: Diagnostic Imaging, Functions, and Pathologic Anatomy (Medical Radiology). Springer. ISBN:3642841945. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
Synonyms & Alternative Spellings
|Synonyms or Alternative Spelling||Include in Listings?|
|Sail sign - elbow||✗|
|Elbow sail sign||✗|
|Sail sign of elbow||✗|