Terrible triad of the elbow


Following a fall-on-outstretched-hand injury, this patient presented with elbow dislocation in addition to fractures of both the radial head and coronoid process, consistent with a terrible triad of the elbow injury. Surgery is the treatment of choice as closed reduction is usually insufficient, as seen in this case. This patient underwent a surgical left elbow open reduction and internal fixation, radial capsulectomy, and radial head arthroplasty. This injury is notoriously difficult to treat as patients often have persistent joint instability, stiffness, or arthrosis. As such, it is fittingly referred to as a terrible triad injury.  


This case was submitted with supervision and input from:

Soni C. Chawla, M.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Radiological Sciences
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Olive View - UCLA Medical Center