UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Orthopedics

Title: Essex-Lopresti injury pattern

Keywords: forearm trauma (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/25/2017 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 7/18/2024)
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The Essex-Lopresti injury pattern is the lesser known of the triad of forearm injuries (Monteggia & Galeazzi).

It follows the “rule of the ring” aka the life saver candy rule: You can’t break a life saver in just one place.

These injury patterns are frequently missed because our eyes are drawn to the fracture and miss the associated dislocation.

The Essex-Lopresti fracture pattern involves a fracture of the radial head with concomitant dislocation of the distal radio-ulnar joint (DRUG)

               -With associated interosseous membrane disruption

Think of it as the Maisonneuve fracture of the forearm.

Mechanism: fall from height/high energy forearm trauma.

PE: Suspect if patient has significant tenderness at the DRUG with a radial head fx.

Patients have worse outcomes if injury is missed on initial presentation due to radial migration and instability.

Take home point: Remember the rule of the ring. Remember to exam the elbow with wrist injuries and the wrist with all elbow injuries

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