Radial head fracture

Case contributed by Antonio Rodrigues de Aguiar Neto


The patient was admitted to the ER, reporting a fall from the bike on the same day, complaining of pain in his elbow and left wrist.

Patient Data

Age: 30 years
Gender: Female

A vertical fracture line extending through the radial head's articular surface, with less than a 2 mm gap. 

No other fracture was detected. The alignment of the elbow is intact.

Impression: Non-displaced intra-articular fracture of the radial head, consistent with a Mason type I fracture.

Case Discussion

Radial head fractures are a common type of elbow injury in adults 1-4. They usually occur during a fall on an outstretched arm with the forearm pronated and discrete flexion of the elbow joint 1-4. CT scan helps identify the location and size, number, morphology, articulate margin, fracture gap, and associated bone fractures and distinguishes the type of fracture in Mason classification 1-4. Radiologists should adopt the same terminology and classification systems used by orthopedic surgeons to enhance communication 1.

This case is a typical example of a non-displaced fracture of the radial head - Mason type 1, in which, in general, the treatment is conservative.

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