Supracondylar fracture - type IIIa

Case contributed by Dr Amir Mahmud


Child who presented with a history of fall while playing.

Patient Data

Age: 9 years
Gender: Male

Left elbow


There is a completely displaced supracondylar fracture with no cortical contact and posterior displacement of the distal fracture component.

Significant surrounding soft tissue swelling and disruption of the elbow joint are also seen.

Case Discussion

The Gartland classification of supracondylar fractures takes into account the size of dislocation of the distal fracture fragment, as well as the position of the fracture line. It is the most common classification system used as it provides guidance in selecting treatment options.

Type IIIa fractures consist of complete displacement of fragments with no cortical contact, and no soft tissue interposition between the fracture fragments.

Type III fractures are the most common type with around 50% of cases in this category.

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