Posterior divergent dislocation of the elbow in children and adolescents: a report of three cases and review of the literature

J Pediatr Orthop. May-Jun 2005;25(3):317-21. doi: 10.1097/01.bpo.0000153877.20561.8a.


Divergent dislocation of the elbow is defined as a specific elbow dislocation in which the distal humerus is forced between the proximal radius and ulna, resulting in separation or divergence of the proximal forearm bones. This is an uncommon injury in children, with 14 cases reported in the last 23 years. The authors report three additional cases and the findings from cadaver elbow dissections in which the injury was reproduced. The authors propose that there is only one type of divergent dislocation, resulting from indirect forces transmitted to the elbow from a fall on the outstretched hand. The injury predominantly occurs in younger children because joint laxity is a predisposing cause. Early recognition, followed by a closed reduction and a 3- to 4-week period of cast immobilization, should result in a full recovery for most children.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cadaver
  • Child
  • Elbow Joint / injuries
  • Elbow Joint / physiopathology
  • Fracture Fixation
  • Humans
  • Joint Dislocations / physiopathology*
  • Joint Dislocations / therapy
  • Male