Supracondylar fracture

Case contributed by Frank Gaillard

Presentation

Painful elbow following a fall

Patient Data

Age: 7 years
Gender: Female

Elbow radiographs

x-ray

There is a lucent lint across the distal humerus consistent with a supracondylar fracture. A line drawn along the anterior border of the humerus does not intersect the middle third of the capitellum, indicating that the fracture is somewhat posteriorly angulated. 

Anterior humeral line

Annotated image

A line drawn along the anterior border of the distal humerus (green) should intersect the long axis of the capitellum (purple) in the mid-third (area shaded light green).   

In the setting of a painful elbow following a fall, if this line does not intersect the green area, but rather the red area then a supracondylar fracture should be suspected. 

Case Discussion

Typical appearances of a supracondylar fracture in a child. 

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