Mason classification of radial head fractures

Last revised by Dr Bahman Rasuli on 01 Jul 2022

The Mason classification is used to classify radial head fractures and is useful when assessing further treatment options 1-2.

  • type I: non-displaced radial head fractures (or small marginal fractures), also known as a "chisel" fracture
  • type II: partial articular fractures with displacement (>2 mm)
  • type III: comminuted fractures involving the entire radial head
    • IIIa: fracture of the entire radial neck, with the head, completely displaced from the shaft
    • IIIb: articular fracture involving the entire head, consisting of more than two large fragments
    • IIIc: fracture with a tilted and impacted articular segment
  • type IV: fracture of the radial head with dislocation of the elbow joint

In general type I injuries can be treated conservatively whereas type II injuries require open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). Type III injuries often require early complete excision of the radial head 2

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: Mason classification
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  • Case 1: type I
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  • Case 2: type I
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  • Case 3: type II
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  • Case 4: type II
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  • Case 5: type III
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  • Case 6: type IV
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  • Case 7: type I
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