Skip to main content
Log in

Ligaments injuries check-up and assessment of their healing potential in simple posterolateral elbow dislocation: about 25 cases

  • Original Article • ELBOW - TRAUMA
  • Published:
European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology Aims and scope Submit manuscript



Elbow dislocation can lead to instability and stiffness of the elbow. The main goal of this study was to list the initial elbow ligaments injuries caused by simple posterolateral elbow dislocations. The secondary goals were to assess ligament healing 2 months after the initial dislocation, to research a correlation between ligaments injuries and clinical course, and to search for predictive factors of instability.

Patients and methods

Patients who had simple posterolateral elbow dislocation for the first time between January 2015 and May 2016 were included. Each patient had an MRI scan of their traumatised elbow on the day of the dislocation and then again 2 months later. The assessment was performed thanks to a clinical examination and calculation of functional recovery scores. The Mann–Whitney U test was used to research a correlation between the healing of ligaments injuries and clinical course.


Twenty-five patients were included in the study. The initial MRI scans showed 70% and 54% ligament rupture, respectively, for the anterior band (ant MCL) and the posterior band (post MCL) of the medial collateral ligament (MCL), as well as 79% for the ulnar (ULCL) and 50% for the radial (RLCL) lateral collateral ligaments. The healing rate 2 months after dislocation was fairly low from 18% for the ULCL up to 41% for the anterior band of the MCL. No correlation was found between the ligament healing noticeable on MRI scans and clinical course. No elbow instability was diagnosed during the 4-month follow-up.


Elbow dislocation is particularly damaging for ligaments. There is no predominance on medial or lateral ligament for rupture. The low healing rate 2 months after the initial dislocation could be explained by performing a follow-up MRI scan too early.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Josefsson PO, Nilsson BE (1986) Incidence of elbow dislocation. Acta Orthop Scand 57(6):537–538

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Robinson PM, Griffiths E, Watts AC (2017) Simple elbow dislocation. Shoulder Elbow 9(3):195–204

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  3. Hildebrand KA, Patterson SD, King GJ (1999) Acute elbow dislocations: simple and complex. Orthop Clin North Am 30(1):63–79

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. O’Driscoll SW, Bell DF, Morrey BF (1991) Posterolateral rotatory instability of the elbow. J Bone Joint Surg Am 73(3):440–446

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Rhyou IH, Kim YS (2012) New mechanism of the posterior elbow dislocation. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 20(12):2535–2541

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Schreiber JJ, Potter HG, Warren RF, Hotchkiss RN, Daluiski A (2014) Magnetic resonance imaging findings in acute elbow dislocation: insight into mechanism. J Hand Surg 39(2):199–205

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Hudak PL, Amadio PC, Bombardier C (1996) Development of an upper extremity outcome measure: the DASH (disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand). The Upper Extremity Collaborative Group (UECG). Am J Ind Med 29(6):602–608

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Morrey BF, An KN, Chao EYS (1993) Functional evaluation of the elbow. In: Morrey BF (ed) The elbow and its disorders, 2nd edn. WB Saunders Co, Philadelphia, p 95

    Google Scholar 

  9. Guerre E, Laronde P, Cussonneau J, Fontaine C, Wavreille G (2016) Experimental determination of the elbow’s center of rotation using the VICON™ optoelectronic motion capture system. Surg Radiol Anat 38(4):395–401

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Schweitzer ME, Tran D, Deely DM, Hume EL (1995) Medial collateral ligament injuries: evaluation of multiple signs, prevalence and location of associated bone bruises, and assessment with MR imaging. Radiology 194(3):825–829

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Hwang J-T, Shields MN, Berglund LJ, Hooke AW, Fitzsimmons JS, O’Driscoll SW (2018) The role of the posterior bundle of the medial collateral ligament in posteromedial rotatory instability of the elbow. Bone Joint J 100-B(8):1060–1065

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Janßen R, Falkowski AL, Hirschmann A (2018) Assessment of ligament and tendon injuries of the elbow using magnetic resonance imaging. Radiologe 58(11):996–1003

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Kaplan LJ, Potter HG (2006) MR imaging of ligament injuries to the elbow. Radiol Clin North Am 44(4):583–594, ix

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Wapler C, Fontaine C, Mesnil P, Chantelot C (2016) Medial collateral ligament healing after posttraumatic radial head arthroplasty: a retrospective study of 33 cases with a mean follow-up of 73 months. Hand Surg Rehabilit 35(1):44–50

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. de Haan J, Schep NWL, Zengerink I, van Buijtenen J, Tuinebreijer WE, den Hartog D (2010) Dislocation of the elbow: a retrospective multicentre study of 86 patients. Open Orthop J 4:76–79

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  16. Josefsson PO, Johnell O, Gentz CF (1984) Long-term sequelae of simple dislocation of the elbow. J Bone Joint Surg Am 66(6):927–930

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Conn J, Wade PA (1961) Injuries of the elbow: a ten year review. J Trauma Acute Care Surg 1(3):248–268

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Royle SG (1991) Posterior dislocation of the elbow. Clin Orthop Relat Res 269:201–204

    Google Scholar 

  19. Josefsson PO, Gentz CF, Johnell O, Wendeberg B (1987) Surgical versus non-surgical treatment of ligamentous injuries following dislocation of the elbow joint. A prospective randomized study. J Bone Joint Surg Am 69(4):605–608

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Rafai M, Largab A, Cohen D, Trafeh M (1999) Pure posterior luxation of the elbow in adults: immobilization or early mobilization. A randomized prospective study of 50 cases. Chir Main 18(4):272–278

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Maripuri SN, Debnath UK, Rao P, Mohanty K (2007) Simple elbow dislocation among adults: a comparative study of two different methods of treatment. Injury 38(11):1254–1258

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Iordens GIT, Van Lieshout EMM, Schep NWL, De Haan J, Tuinebreijer WE, Eygendaal D et al (2015) Early mobilisation versus plaster immobilisation of simple elbow dislocations: results of the FuncSiE multicentre randomised clinical trial. Br J Sports Med 51(6):531–538

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Hackl M, Wegmann K, Ries C, Leschinger T, Burkhart KJ, Müller LP (2015) Reliability of magnetic resonance imaging signs of posterolateral rotatory instability of the elbow. J Hand Surg Am 40(7):1428–1433

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. Schnetzke M, Schüler S, Hoffend J, Simon R, Keil H, Porschke F et al (2017) Interobserver and intraobserver agreement of ligamentous injuries on conventional MRI after simple elbow dislocation. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 18(1):85

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank Dr Antonin Lereuil for his help in the translation.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eric Abehsera.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Abehsera, E., Guerre, E., Duriez, P. et al. Ligaments injuries check-up and assessment of their healing potential in simple posterolateral elbow dislocation: about 25 cases. Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol 29, 785–792 (2019).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: