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01.12.2011 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2011 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2011

Subacute dislocation of the elbow following Galeazzi fracture-dislocation of the radius: A case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2011
Aysha Rajeev, Shanaka Senevirathna, John Harrison
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-1947-5-589) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

AR prepared the manuscript. SS performed clinical follow-up of the patient and edited the manuscript. JH conducted the surgical management of the patient. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



The Galeazzi fracture-dislocation was originally described by Sir Astley Cooper in 1822 but was named after Italian surgeon Ricardo Galeazzi in 1934. It is an injury classified as a radial shaft fracture with associated dislocation of the distal radioulnar joint and disruption of the forearm axis joint. The associated distal radioulnar joint injury may be purely ligamentous in nature, tearing the triangular fibrocartilaginous complex, or involve bony tissue (that is, ulnar styloid avulsions) or both. We report this case because of the rare association of posterior dislocation of the elbow along with Galeazzi fracture-dislocation. To the best of our knowledge, this has not been previously reported in the English literature.

Case presentation

A 26-year-old Caucasian man presented to our department after a fall from a motorbike. He sustained a closed, isolated Galeazzi fracture-dislocation of the right forearm and no associated elbow injuries, and this necessitated open reduction and internal fixation of the radius. Post-operative radiographs films were satisfactory. However, clinical and radiological evidence of ipsilateral elbow dislocation was noted at a five-week follow-up, subsequently requiring open reduction of the joint and collateral ligament repair. Our patient was noted to have full elbow and forearm function at three months.


Although the Galeazzi fracture-dislocation has been classically described as involving only the distal radioulnar joint, traumatic forces can be transmitted to the elbow via the interosseous membrane of the forearm. This can lead to instability of the elbow joint. Therefore, we recommend that, in every case of forearm fracture, both elbow and wrist joints be assessed clinically as well as radiologically for subluxation or dislocation.

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