Fishtail deformity of elbow

Case contributed by Dr Andrew Dixon

Presentation

Fall onto left elbow.

Patient Data

Age: 4
Gender: Female
X-ray

Supracondylar humerus fracture with associated haemarthrosis. 

X-ray

8 months later

Radiographs 8 months later reveal healing of the supracondylar fracture but development of new lucency and collapse at the metaphysis adjacent to where the trochlear ossification centre is due to develop. This post-traumatic phenomenon is known as a fishtail deformity. 

Annotated image

Lucency and collapse at the metaphysis on the trochlear side of the distal humerus (green arrow) creating a fishtail indentation. 

Case Discussion

Fishtail deformity of the elbow is characterised by a contour abnormality of the distal humerus, which develops when the lateral trochlear ossification centre fails to develop or resorbs. It is an uncommon complication usually following a distal humeral fracture in childhood.

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Case information

rID: 49682
Case created: 30th Nov 2016
Last edited: 3rd Jun 2017
System: Paediatrics
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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