Elbow Dislocation Management in the ED Workup

Updated: Jan 27, 2022
  • Author: James E Keany, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Trevor John Mills, MD, MPH  more...
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Workup

Imaging Studies

Plain radiographs are essential prior to reduction of a suspected dislocation. Postreduction films should confirm opposition of joint surfaces and should rule out previously unidentified fractures and entrapment of bony fragments within the joint space. [10]

A descriptive series undertaken to retrospectively analyze and describe patterns of ligamentous, tendinous, and muscular injuries in patients with acute elbow dislocation and subsequent MRI evaluation reported that injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament were most common. Although ligamentous injuries are exceedingly common in elbow dislocation, large studies of MRI findings have proved difficult because of the costs of MRI. [11]

Arteriography should be performed for cases of suspected vascular injury.