Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ

Question:

My mother lives in a nursing home and fell last week. The doctor's report says she has iatrogenic neurapraxia of the elbow. What does that mean exactly? All we know is she can't straighten her elbow on one side but it's not broken.

Answer:

Iatrogenic is a medical term to describe something that happens to a patient while in the care of a doctor or hospital. Iatrogenic pneumonia means the patient got pneumonia from being exposed to germs in the hospital.

An iatrogenic injury refers to a condition that occurred because of her living conditions in the nursing home. Many adults in nursing homes injure themselves when they try to get up without help or assistance. They forget they can no longer walk alone.

Neuropraxia refers to a mild nerve injury. The covering over the nerve called the nerve sheath is okay but the nerve itself has been compressed or traumatized. In this type of injury messages from the nerve will be slowed down for a few weeks. Full recovery can be expected in one to three weeks.

Julie E. Adams, MD, and Scott P. Steinmann, MD. Nerve Injuries About the Elbow. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. February 2006. Vol. 31A. No. 2. Pp. 303-313.

*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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