Radial neck fracture

Radial neck fractures are, together with the radial head fractures, relatively common injuries, especially in adults, although they can be occult on radiographs. 

Radial neck fractures are almost always the result of a fall onto an outstretched hand. Force applied along the radius results in impaction of the radial head against the capitellum. The result is often a radial head or neck fracture. The neck fractures may be complete or incomplete.

The elbow is typically radiographed in AP and lateral projections, although an oblique view is very frequently also obtained to better visualize the radial head (see elbow radiography).

The images generally show the loss of the mild concave curvature of the anterior cortex of the base of the radial head creating an abrupt offset between the radial head and neck 1. An elbow joint effusion will almost always be present. 

Radial neck fractures are usually not displaced. As a result, they are usually treated with immobilization in cast. In the rare situation where there is a transverse fracture of the neck and displacement of the proximal fracture fragment, operative intervention may be required.


Article information

rID: 45151
Tag: refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Radial neck fracture

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewers/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 2
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 3
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 4
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.