This is a retrospective review of 296 radial head fractures treated during a six-year period. The authors divided patients into those who had complete lack of cortical contact between the fragment and the proximal radius and those who had some cortical contact. In reviewing the mechanism of injury, the authors found that in patients with Mason type II fractures of the radius the complete loss of cortical contact of at least one fracture fragment is strongly predictive of a complex elbow injury pattern.
The significance of this study is that it points out that classification systems for radial head fractures, which distinguish between partial and whole head involvement, may account for fracture size and displacement but do not take into account the overall injury pattern. The study represents an attempt to further elucidate which fractures are going to require more complex stabilization.