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J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2004 Mar;86-A(3):569-74.

Uncomplicated Mason type-II and III fractures of the radial head and neck in adults. A long-term follow-up study.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, University Hospital MAS, SE-205 02 Malmo, Sweden.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incidence and the long-term results of closed uncomplicated Mason type-II and III fractures in a defined population of adults.


Seventy women and thirty men who were a mean of forty-seven years old when they sustained a fracture of the radial head or neck (a Mason type-II fracture in seventy-six patients and a Mason type-III fracture in twenty-four) were reexamined after a mean of nineteen years. Radiographic signs of degenerative changes of the elbow were recorded. The fracture had been treated with an elastic bandage or a collar and cuff sling with mobilization for forty-four individuals, with cast immobilization for thirty-four, with resection of the radial head in nineteen, with open reduction of the radial head in two, and with a collateral ligament repair in one. Secondary excision of the radial head was performed because of residual pain in nine patients, and a neurolysis of the ulnar nerve was performed in one patient.


Seventy-seven individuals had no symptoms in the injured elbow at the time of follow-up, twenty-one had occasional pain, and two had daily pain. The injured elbows had a slight flexion deficit compared with the uninjured elbows (mean and standard deviation, 138 degrees +/- 8 degrees compared with 140 degrees +/- 7 degrees ) as well as a small extension deficit (mean and standard deviation, -4 degrees +/- 8 degrees compared with -1 degrees +/- 6 degrees ) (p < 0.001 for both). The prevalence of degenerative changes was higher in the injured elbows than in the uninjured ones (76% compared with 16%, p < 0.001).


The results following uncomplicated Mason type-II and III fractures are predominantly favorable. A secondary radial head resection is usually effective for patients with an unfavorable outcome (predominantly long-standing pain).


Therapeutic study, Level IV (case series [no, or historical, control group]). See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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