Mason classification of radial head fractures

The Mason classification is used to classify radial head fractures and is useful when assessing further treatment options 1-2.

  • type I: non-displaced radial head fractures (or small marginal fractures), also known as a "chisel" fracture
  • type II: partial articular fractures with displacement (>2 mm)
  • type III: comminuted fractures involving the entire radial head
    • IIIa: fracture of the entire radial neck, with the head, completely displaced from the shaft
    • IIIb: articular fracture involving the entire head, consisting of more than two large fragments
    • IIIc: fracture with a tilted and impacted articular segment
  • type IV: fracture of the radial head with dislocation of the elbow joint

In general type I injuries can be treated conservatively whereas type II injuries require open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). Type III injuries often require early complete excision of the radial head 2


Article information

rID: 10215
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Mason classification of radial head fractures

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: type I
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  • Case 2: type II
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  • Case 3: type II
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  • Case 4: type III
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