Dislocations of the elbow in children: Long-term follow-up

G. L. Di Gennaro, M. Spina, M. Fosco, D. Antonioli, O. Donzelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Dislocation of the elbow in children is considered to be a benign injury in most cases. The aim of this paper is to evaluate whether this condition has late sequelae in the adult age. The study consisted of a retrospective evaluation of patients under 15 years old at the time of injury. Methods: 40 patients were selected for the follow-up evaluation. The mean age of the children at the time of injury was 10.9 years old (range 5-14 years). Four patients were lost to follow-up, so they were not considered for final clinical evaluation. For the other 36 patients, the follow-up examination was undertaken after an average of 15 years (range 7-22 years). The average age of the patients at the follow-up was 26 (range 18-34 years). Results: At the end of follow-up period, there were few subjective complications. No redislocations occurred. None of the patients had been influenced by their elbow injury in their choice of occupation. X-rays were available for 27 patients. These were graded using Linscheid and Wheeler criteria and were excellent in 14 patients, good in 10 and fair in 3. Conclusions: Dislocation of the elbow in children is a benign injury in the majority of cases and has a good prognosis in the adult age too in spite of extensive damage to the periarticular structures. Ectopic ossifications are a common finding, but only large periarticular ectopic ossifications were associated with a decrease in range on motion. Extension loss is the most common sequelae. Level of evidence IV.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMusculoskeletal Surgery
Issue number1 SUPPL
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Children
  • Dislocations
  • Elbow
  • Long-term follow-up
  • Range of motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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