Magnetic Resonance Imaging Findings After Elbow Dislocation: A Descriptive Study
Cory J Demino, MD, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA and John R Fowler, MD, UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA
The elbow is one of the most commonly dislocated joints and is usually accompanied with an assortment of soft tissue injuries. The purpose of this study was to retrospectively analyze and describe the patterns of ligamentous, tendinous, and muscular injuries in patients with an acute elbow dislocation and subsequent MRI evaluation.
Materials & Methods
From 2008 to 2020, 235 patients clinically diagnosed with an elbow dislocation were seen in the department while only 19 underwent an MRI of the affected elbow. Twelve patients met inclusion criteria and MRI's were evaluated by both a radiologist and an upper extremity orthopaedic surgeon. MRI's were assessed for injury to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), radial collateral ligament (RCL), lateral ulnar collateral ligament (LUCL), common flexor and extensor tendons, biceps, brachialis, and triceps tendons, fracture, and joint effusion.
MRI findings included the following: UCL was injured in 11/12 patients, RCL was injured in 9/12, LUCL was injured in 9/12, common flexor tendon was injured in 11/12, and the common extensor tendon was injured in 9/12 elbows. The biceps, brachialis, and triceps tendons showed injury in 1/12, 2/12, and 2/12 elbows respectively. Four elbows had at least one fracture present, while eight demonstrated an effusion.
In this series, injuries to the UCL and common flexor tendon were most common. While ligamentous injuries are exceedingly common in elbow dislocations, large studies of MRI findings prove difficult due to MRI costs.
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