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Pediatric elbow trauma.

Acute pediatric elbow trauma is commonly seen in the emergency department (ED). Reports confirm that, compared to other fractures, children's elbow fractures are commonly misdiagnosed in the ED. In addition, missed orthopedic injuries are one of the leading causes of malpractice claims in emergency medicine. Radiologic diagnosis of these injuries is challenging, as a large portion of the pediatric elbow is composed of radiolucent cartilage. Knowledge of the normal anatomy and ossification centers around the elbow is essential for correct diagnosis. Acute neurovascular injury is frequently associated with these injuries, but is often difficult to assess in an apprehensive child. Immediate orthopedic consultation is indicated for any child with an elbow injury in whom neurologic or vascular compromise is suspected. Consultation should be strongly considered for children with displaced supracondylar fractures and/or significant echymosis and swelling about the cubital fossa.

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