Posterior fat pad sign

The posterior fat pad sign is the visualisation of a lucent crescent of fat located in olecranon fossa on true lateral view of elbow joint with the elbow flexed at a right angle, and it indicates an elbow joint effusion. Normally, the posterior fat pad will not be seen on this view. 

In an appropriate setting of trauma, it can be a clue for occult nondisplaced fractures, in particular supracondylar fracture in children or radial head fracture in adults. 

Share article

Article information

rID: 45371
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Drag
    Case 1: with radial head fracture
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 2
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 3
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

    Alert accept

    Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

    Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.