Is it possible for a dislocated elbow to be fractured upon reduction if it was done improperly or by someone untrained? My daughter had what we thought was nurse maids elbow and wile in getting x-rays, the tech heard it pop. She was able to move her arm a
There . There are a couple of possibilities: one is that the fracture was already there and was easier to see once the joint reduced (popped back into place). The other is that the fracture occured when the elbow reduced. Usually a radiology technician does not put any significant force on an extremity while getting the x-rays. Sometimes they will even have the physician position the patient if he/she is particularly concerned. It is unlikely that the technician put enough force on the elbow to cause a fracture. Some dislocations will pop into place with minimal force and that is more likely what happened. Once the deformity is corrected, the swelling is more evident and it will continue to increase for 48 to 72 hours after an injury. The x-rays will often tell the story. Depending on the size and direction of the fragment, we can sometimes get an idea of which direction the force was that caused the fragment. Review the x-rays with the treating physician. He/she may be able to make a final determination, but that is not always the case. However, i think the more likely answer is that the fracture was already there.