Radial Head and Neck Fracture

  • Austin Hill
  • David RingEmail author


Radial head fracture could present as an isolated injury or be part of a combined fracture injury involving the other structures of the elbow joint. The combination of radial head fracture, medial collateral ligament injury and coronoid process fracture comprised the so called ‘terrible triad’ of the elbow. Usually operative intervention   aiming at restoration of movement and joint stability is indicated if the fracture comprises more than 33% of the articular surface, is angulated more than 30°, or is displaced more than 3 mm. In this chapter the issues surrounding the surgical management of radial head fracture are discussed.


Radial Head Neck Fracture Terrible Triad Intact Periosteum Posterior Interosseous Nerve 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Duckworth AD, McQueen MM, Ring D. Fractures of the radial head. Bone Joint J. 2013;95-B(2):151–9. Review. PubMed PMID:23365021CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Doornberg JN, Guitton TG, Ring D. Science of Variation Group.. Diagnosis of elbow fracture patterns on radiographs: interobserver reliability and diagnostic accuracy. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2013;471(4):1373–8. Epub 2012 Dec 18. PubMed PMID: 23247817; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3586040CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pugh DM, Wild LM, Schemitsch EH, King GJ, McKee MD. Standard surgical protocol to treat elbow dislocations with radial head and coronoid fractures. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2004;86-A(6):1122–30. PubMed PMID: 15173283CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ring D, Jupiter JB, Zilberfarb J. Posterior dislocation of the elbow with fractures of the radial head and coronoid. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2002;84-A(4):547–51. PubMed PMID: 11940613CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    O'Driscoll SW, Jupiter JB, Cohen MS, Ring D, McKee MD. Difficult elbow fractures: pearls and pitfalls. Instr Course Lect. 2003;52:113–34. Review. PubMed PMID: 12690844PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Guitton TG, Ring D, Science of Variation Group. Interobserver reliability of radial head fracture classification: two-dimensional compared with three-dimensional CT. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2011;93(21):2015–21. PubMed PMID: 22048097CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Guitton TG, van der Werf HJ, Ring D. Quantitative three-dimensional computed tomography measurement of radial head fractures. J Shoulder Elb Surg. 2010;19(7):973–7. Epub 2010 Jun 20. PubMed PMID:20566295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    van Leeuwen DH, Guitton TG, Lambers K, Ring D. Quantitative measurement of radial head fracture location. J Shoulder Elb Surg. 2012;21(8):1013–7. Epub 2011 Nov 9. PubMed PMID: 22071412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Smith AM, Morrey BF, Steinmann SP. Low profile fixation of radial head and neck fractures: surgical technique and clinical experience. J Orthop Trauma. 2007;21(10):718–24. PubMed PMID: 17986889CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Clembosky G, Boretto JG. Open reduction and internal fixation versus prosthetic replacement for complex fractures of the radial head. J Hand Surg Am. 2009;34(6):1120–3. Epub 2009 May 28. PubMed PMID: 19481361CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hotchkiss RN. Displaced fractures of the radial head: internal fixation or excision? J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 1997;5(1):1–10. PubMed PMID: 10797202CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Smith GR, Hotchkiss RN. Radial head and neck fractures: anatomic guidelines for proper placement of internal fixation. J Shoulder Elb Surg. 1996;5(2 Pt 1):113–7. PubMed PMID: 8742874CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ring D, Quintero J, Jupiter JB. Open reduction and internal fixation of fractures of the radial head. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2002;84-A(10):1811–5. PubMed PMID: 12377912CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgery and Perioperative CareDell Medical School—The University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

Personalised recommendations