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Chapter: Medical Surgical Nursing: Management of Patients With Musculoskeletal Trauma

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Radial Head - Fracture

Radial head fractures are common and are usually produced by a fall on the outstretched hand with the elbow extended.

RADIAL HEAD

Radial head fractures are common and are usually produced by a fall on the outstretched hand with the elbow extended.

Management

If blood has collected in the elbow joint (hemarthrosis), it is aspi-rated to relieve pain and to allow early active elbow and forearm ROM. Immobilization for these undisplaced fractures is accom-plished with a splint. The patient is instructed not to lift with the arm for approximately 4 weeks. If the fracture is displaced, surgery is required, with excision of the radial head when necessary. Post-operatively, the arm is immobilized in a posterior plaster splint and sling. The patient is encouraged to carry out a program of active motion of the elbow and forearm when prescribed.

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