Articular Cartilage Injuries of the Capitellum Interposed in Radial Head Fractures: A Report of Ten Cases

Author(s): Caputo AE, Burton KJ, Cohen MS, and King GK

Source: Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery 15: 716-20, 2006.


This is a retrospective review of ten patients from three different centers with an extensive experience in fixation of radial head fractures.  The purpose of the article is to describe the presence of an articular shear fracture of the capitellum which becomes imbedded in the fracture of the radial head, thereby preventing reduction of the radial head.

These findings were not anticipated pre-operatively.  Surgical management consisted of removal of the fragment and fixation of the radial head.  The authors describe post-operative results consistent with the literature regarding severe radial head fractures.  While it is unclear as to the exact incidence of these injuries with increasingly aggressive management of Mason Type I and II fractures, these injuries are going to be encountered more frequently and should be recognized when reduction of the fracture is difficult or unattainable.  Mechanical symptoms during forearm rotation may be an indicator of this injury pattern in the absence of gross displacement of the radial head radiographically.


Radial, Head, Fracture, Capitellum, Elbow

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