dislocation of the elbow

Last reviewed 01/2018

Dislocated elbow is the result of a fall on the hand. The force of the fall pushes the forearm backwards and the elbow dislocates posteriorly or posteriolaterally.

This injury is usually evident by the consequent deformity. There may be damage to the brachial artery or the median or ulna nerves.

This injury is reduced with the patient under anaesthesia. The arm is held in a collar and cuff with the elbow flexed above 90 degrees. The collar and cuff is retained for 3 weeks.

Immediate complications of the injury include brachial artery or nerve damage - median or ulna. There may be development of myositis ossificans or joint stiffness in the long-term.