Complex Elbow Instability Fracture-Dislocation

Abstract

The elbow is the second most commonly dislocated joint in adults. Complex instability of the elbow represents a spectrum of injuries defined by disruption of the capsuloligamentous restraints and articular elements of the elbow. The mechanism of elbow dislocation has traditionally been felt to occur as a result of a hyperextension force across the elbow. This mechanism fails to fully explain the pattern of soft-tissue and bony injuries associated with elbow dislocations. The management of complex elbow instability requires a full understanding of the biomechanics of the elbow and the articular and soft-tissue contributions to elbow stability. The principles of nonsurgical and surgical management of complex elbow instability are reviewed extensively.

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