Lateral Condyle Fractures

Lateral Condyle fractures are a common type of elbow injury in children. They account for 17-20% of elbow fractures in children, and usually occur between 5-10 years of age. They most commonly are due to a fall on an outstretched hand. In a lateral condyle fracture, the outside edge of the elbow joint is broken, and the outside of the elbow is typically painful and swollen. Lateral condyle fractures frequently involve both the growth plate as well as the elbow joint surface, and frequently require surgery to heal properly.
For surgery, usually an incision is made on the outside of the elbow and the fractured pieces are put back in place under direct visualization. After the pieces are aligned properly, 2-3 pins are placed to keep the pieces in place. A cast is then applied over the pins, and the cast and pins remain in place for 3-4 weeks. After that time, the cast is removed and the pins are pulled out in the office. Below are some x-rays of a lateral condyle fracture at injury and at the time of surgery.