Terrible triad of the elbow

Case contributed by Dr Imran Ahmad Khan


Trauma. Patient presented to ER following a fall while bicycling.

Patient Data

Age: 30 years
Gender: Male

Mason type IV radial head fracture with elbow dislocation and coronoid fracture.


Widely displaced comminuted fracture of the head of radius with posterior dislocation of the elbow joint. Associated displaced fracture of coronoid process of ulna is also noted. 

Case Discussion

The combination of radial head fracture, coronoid process fracture and dislocation of the elbow joint is referred to as 'terrible triad'.

Treatment is by open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) or radial head arthroplasty.

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