Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ

Question:

I heard of a case of a child who had severe nerve problems in his arm after he dislocated his elbow. This wasn't seen until a few weeks after the accident and then it wasn't dealt with for several more weeks. How could the doctors not tell right away and why would they wait?

Answer:

When a child (or adult) dislocates his elbow, there is always the possibility that one of the nerves that travels through the elbow gets trapped in a position it isn't normally. However, this can't be seen on an x-ray or any of the usual tests done with a suspected dislocated elbow. It is only during follow up that doctors may see some signs that there is a nerve entrapment and it may not be very clear at first. If they suspect the nerve has been trapped, they may opt to wait a short while to see if the problem will resolve itself on its own. If it doesn't, then they may step in and work on the problem - usually through surgery. Dave Simon, MD, et al. Intra-articular Median Nerve Incarceration After Spontaneous Reduction of a Pediatric Elbow Dislocation: Case Report and Review of the Literature. In Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. March 2010. Vol. 30, No. 2.  Pp. 125-129.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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