What is an Essex-Lopresti-Fracture Dislocation?

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September 21, 2019
Edward Smith

What is an Essex-Lopresti Fracture-Dislocation?

An Essex-Lopresti fracture-dislocation is a serious injury of the elbow that often results from a traumatic accident or a slip and fall injury. This fracture-dislocation takes place in the elbow. The criteria of an Essex-Lopresti fracture-dislocation include a fracture that takes place in the head of the radius, a dislocation of the elbow joint itself, and a rupture of the membrane that protects the elbow joint.

As evidenced by the various criteria of the Essex-Lopresti fracture-dislocation, this is a serious injury of the arm. Someone who suffers this injury may be facing a prolonged recovery; however, most people who are diagnosed with this injury will eventually make a full recovery. There is some important information that everyone should note regarding this traumatic arm injury.

The Clinical Presentation of an Essex-Lopresti Fracture-Dislocation

Someone who has suffered this injury has had a large force transmitted directly down the shaft of the forearm itself. As a result, a significant portion of these injuries result following a slip and fall accident. This injury may take place on a flight of stairs, a wet floor, or even an icy sidewalk. When someone extends their arm into a locked position to brace their fall, they expose their forearm to this potential injury.

As this force is transmitted down the arm, the force loads the arm in a longitudinal direction. If the elbow is locked as the force travels down the arm, an Essex-Lopresti fracture-dislocation can result.

When someone arrives at the doctor’s office with this type of injury, their arm will be in a significant amount of pain. They will not want to move the arm, as this will make the pain worse. In addition, the elbow joint will be unstable as a result of the disruption of the membrane and the dislocation as well. Moving the elbow may place the other structures in the vicinity of the injury at risk.

The Classification of this Serious Arm Injury

An Essex-Lopresti fracture-dislocation is a relatively serious arm injury. Because of this, doctors have developed a classification system to try and grade the severity of the injury. The various classes of this injury include:

Type I: Someone who has been categorized with a type I fracture-dislocation has large fragments of bone present in the vicinity of the elbow. Because the fragments are relatively large, this makes the repair process easier.

Type II: An individual who has been diagnosed with a Type II Essex-Lopresti fracture-dislocation has a serious injury. This injury is comminuted, meaning that the head of the radius is virtually shattered. This makes the repair process more challenging.

Type III: In a Type III injury, the fracture occurred at some point in the past. Often, this means that the initial injury itself has been missed. Medical research itself has shown that this type of injury is prone to being overlooked due to the challenging nature of its appearance on x-rays. Often, the head of the radius is also out of position.

Once the injury has been diagnosed and classified, the treatment process can begin.

The Treatment of this Bone Fracture

The treatment of this injury has evolved over the years. Traditionally, because of the severity of the injury, doctors have been more aggressive in their repairs. Surgery is almost always required. The treatment is based on the classification of this injury. Traditionally, the injury as been treated as follows:

Type I: In a Type I injury, the doctor will open up the elbow joint and fix the injury using plates and screws. This equipment is used to hold the bone fragments in place so that they can heal properly.

Type II: Because the elbow itself is typically shattered in a Type II injury, the head of the radius is removed. It is then replaced with a prosthetic and the injury is allowed to heal.

Type III: In a Type III injury, the head of the radius is also replaced. Occasionally, the ulna is also damaged in a Type III injury. If this is the case, the ulna is also repaired.

This serious injury deserves the immediate attention of a trained medical professional. With rapid treatment, individuals should make a meaningful recovery.

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. An Essex-Lopresti fracture-dislocation is a serious arm injury that can lead to major complications. If someone you know has suffered a serious arm injury due to the negligence of another person or entity, please call me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.

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