When the elbow dislocates, the joint capsule and ligaments are completely torn.
If there are no associated fractures the elbow is usually stable after reduction, and surgery is not helpful.
An elbow with a fractured radial head and an intact coronoid is at low risk of dislocating. However, deformity of the radial head can hinder forearm rotation.
If both the radial head and the coronoid are fractured, the elbow is at high risk of dislocating. Repair of the fractures will help stabilize the elbow.
|Open reduction internal fixation|
|Posterior dislocation with fractures of the radial head and coronoid and residual subluxation or recurrent dislocation after reduction|
- Ensures the elbow remains located during functional aftertreatment
|Hinged external fixation following ORIF|
|Residual subluxation or repeat dislocation after open repair|
- Holds elbow reduced during early healing and mobilization
- Places nerves at risk
- Pin-track infections
|Basic surgical experience, no specialized skills|
|Some specialized surgical experience|
|Highly experienced and skilled surgeon|
|Basic equipment only|
|Simple surgical and imaging resources|
|Full specialized surgical and imaging resources|