The radial head plays a critical role in the stability of the elbow joint and its range of motion. Injuries may occur across a spectrum of severity, ranging from low energy non-displaced fractures to high energy comminuted fractures. Multiple classification systems exist to help characterize radial head fractures and their associated injuries, as well as to guide treatment strategies. Depending on the type of fracture, non-operative management may be possible if early range of motion is initiated. Other options include open reduction and internal fixation or excision followed by arthroplasty. A lateral approach is typically used for adequate surgical exposure. Controversy still remains regarding operative management of more severe fractures, but studies have shown good outcomes after radial head replacement for these fractures. We will review the current treatments available for radial head fractures, highlighting gaps in knowledge, as well as providing recommendations for the care of these injuries.Level of evidence: Level V.
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