What is a Radial Head fracture?
Radial head fractures are fractures of the proximal part of the radius. This is the part of the radius that articulates with the distal humerus and the proximal ulna. It’s a disk shaped part of radius which allows the forearm to rotate. Commonly caused by a fall onto an outstretched hand or falling onto the elbow itself.
The Symptoms can include pain and swelling around the fractured site. Sometimes there can be a mechanical block to moving the elbow because of the position of the fracture fragments.
The diagnosis of a Radial Head fracture is made with X-Rays and CT scans to have a closer look at the fracture configuration.
Treatments of the radial head fracture can be operative or non-operative. If there is minimal displacement of the fracture fragments then operative fixation is generally not required. If fracture fragments are displaced then the operative fixation is required. This can only be performed with some mini fragment headless compression screws.
Outcomes of radial head fracture procedures are quite good. There are risks of surgery which include but are not limited to bleeding, infection, damage to neurovascular structures, hardware complications and stiffening responses around the elbow. However with careful surgery and rehabilitation most of the risks of these complications can be kept quite low.