Elbow Fractures in Children

Children are always full of energy, they play, they laugh, they run around and unfortunately they fall down as well. Most of the times it is just a scratch or a bruise, and the next minute they are up and running again. However, sometimes, it can result in serious injuries. Elbow fractures are one of the most common childhood injuries in Singapore, typically after a fall from height and the “monkey bars” has been named the number 1 culprit in Singapore.

Symptoms

The symptoms are immediate intense pain/ severe swelling/ bruising and deformity. In the most severe cases, the displaced bone fragments can compress on the blood vessels and cut off the blood supply of the upper limb, the affected limb will be cold and pale, and the whole upper limb will have the feeling of pins and needles.

You should seek immediate medical treatment with an experienced orthopaedic surgeon should the above situation occur. The affected arm needs to be immobilized and first aid treatment initiated. X rays would be done to confirm the fracture and to study the configuration of the fracture.

elbow fractures in children

Assessment

At HC Orthopaedic Surgery, you will receive timely and individualized treatment, and the treatment options would depend on the type of elbow fracture and the degree of displacement.
treatment elbow fractures in children

Treatment

  1. Conservative treatment
    • Backslab/full cast immobilisation can be done for patients with simple elbow fractures no blood supply disruption.
  2. Surgery
    • Manipulation and percutaneous pinning (minimally invasive option) can be done for patients with moderately displaced fractures with no blood supply disruption.
    • Open reduction and internal fixation if the fractures are intra-articular (affecting the elbow joint surface), severely displaced, or the blood supply are disrupted.

If left untreated, elbow fractures in childhood can lead to severe functional limitation due to
the significant deformity (cubital varus or cubital valgus), nerve damage (tardy ulnar nerve
palsy) or even Volkmann ischaemic contracture if the blood supply disruption is not being
rectified early.

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