The Assessment and Management of Simple Elbow Dislocations

Andrew J Grazette*, Alex Aquilina
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Clifford Bridge Road, CV2 2DX, Coventry, UK

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© 2017 Grazette and Aquilina.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Coventry and Warwickshire Shoulder and Elbow Unit, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Clifford Bridge Road, Coventry, CV2 2DX, UK, Tel: 07834 177017; Email:



Simple elbow dislocations are a commonly seen joint dislocation involving a sequential disruption of the soft tissue stabilisers without a significant associated fracture.


A selective literature search was performed and personal surgical experiences are reported.


The majority of these injuries can be treated with expedient closed reduction, with the intact bony congruency of the elbow joint conferring early stability. Early mobilisation after reduction results in a faster recovery with good functional outcomes. Surgical intervention for persistent instability or stiffness is uncommonly required. Although, early surgical ligamentous repair has been considered, the current evidence does not demonstrate any long-term benefits compared to non-operative treatment.


The majority of simple elbow dislocations can be successfully managed non-operatively with good reliable outcomes. Careful follow up is essential, however, to identify patients that may occasionally develop persistent instability or stiffness and require intervention.

Keywords: Simple Dislocation, Elbow joint, Elbow Dislocations, Epidemiology, Fracture, Surgical intervention.