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Management of radial head fractures: current concepts


L. Kaas, Room G4-242, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Academic Medical Center, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Tel.: +31 20 5667736.
Fax: +31 20 6967628.


Radial head fractures are common injuries and are accompanied by clinically relevant associated injuries in over one-third of patients. They are commonly classified by the Mason classification or one of its modifications. Type I fractures are treated conservatively with early mobilization. Type II fractures can be treated conservatively or by open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), depending on fragment size and dislocation. Bony restriction in forearm rotation is an indication for surgical treatment. Type III fractures are treated surgically, by means of ORIF, prosthetic replacement or excision. Comminuted fractures with more than three fragments are regarded as unsuitable for ORIF. However, optimal treatment of type II and III fractures is still the subject of debate and there is a strong need for randomized clinical trials and uniform fracture classification and outcome measures.