Upper Extremities

Dislocated Elbow

A dislocated elbow, commonly referred to in children as a nursemaid’s elbow, occurs when the bones of the elbow joint are pulled out of alignment and partially dislocate. This condition is most often caused by a sudden pulling on the hand or forearm that causes the radius, one of the bones in the forearm, to slip out of place at the elbow joint. Although it may occur at any age, a dislocated elbow is more common in children, especially those under the age of four, as their bones and muscles are still developing and are not as strong as the bones of adults.

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Internal Fixation of Distal Humerus Fractures

The distal humerus is the end of the upper arm bone, or the humerus, that forms the upper part of the elbow. A distal humerus fracture is a type of elbow fracture. The elbow consists of portions of three bones and is held together by ligaments, muscles and tendons. The distal humerus makes up the upper part of the actual elbow joint and when it is fractured, it can make elbow motion difficult or impossible.

Treatment for a fractured distal humerus varies depending on the severity of the fracture. Mild fractures may be treated with a sling or splint to hold the bone in place as it heals. Severe fractures may require surgery to position bones back into place to promote healing. This may be performed through a procedure known as internal fixation. Internal fixation is a surgical technique that secures the bones in place with the help of screws, plates, wires, rods and pins. These tools are internally attached to the bone to hold the broken parts together and initiate healing.

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Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction (elbow)

The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is located on the inside of the elbow and connects the bone of the upper arm to a bone in the forearm. The UCL is vital to maintaining elbow stability and function. This ligament may be torn as a result of injury or dislocation of the elbow, or damaged by overuse and repetitive movement and stress. If injuries do not heal properly, the elbow may become loose or unstable. Symptoms of a UCL injury include pain on the inside of the elbow, numbness, tingling, and decreased arm and elbow strength. A UCL injury is more common in athletes, especially baseball players, who use their arm constantly in a throwing motion.

Treatment for a UCL injury varies, and initial treatment may include rest, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy. If symptoms persist and do not respond to conservative methods of treatment, surgery to reconstruct or repair the joint, may be necessary. Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction is a procedure used to repair a torn or damaged UCL ligament. This procedure is commonly referred to as Tommy John surgery, named after the first baseball player to undergo the procedure.

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