Broken Elbow (cont.)
Broken Elbow Diagnosis
The doctor may perform the following procedures in evaluating a patient for a
doctor will generally want to know the patient's overall health history. The
doctor may ask questions about past surgeries, medical illnesses and
doctor also may ask several specific questions about the injury as follows:
caused your injury?
did the injury occur?
did symptoms begin?
are the major symptoms? For example, only pain, or pain and swelling, or
swelling and discoloration, lack of mobility and others?
doctor will perform a physical examination, paying particular attention to
the injured arm.
doctor will probably check the patient's heart, lungs, and abdomen.
doctor may also check the patient's head, neck, back, and uninjured arms and legs.
of this examination is to make sure that no other, more serious, injuries or
conditions exist. Sometimes people in a great deal of pain from a broken
elbow do not even notice that they have other injuries.
doctor may order X-rays. Elbow
X-rays are taken from the front and side.
Additional X-rays, taken at two different angles, may also be done. Depending
on the patient's unique health history and their treatment needs, the doctor
may order additional laboratory tests.
- Sometimes elbow injuries cause so much pain that a full examination is
impossible. If this is the case, the doctor first may choose to simply look
at the elbow without moving it or touching it.
doctor may examine the hand and wrist to make sure that blood vessels and
nerves are working properly.
children, the doctor may take X-rays of the uninjured elbow. Children's
elbows are not completely formed so growing cartilage, which later forms
bone, may be mistaken for a broken bone. Comparing X-rays of injured and
uninjured elbows may help the doctor make a correct diagnosis.
- Other tests such as
ultrasound, CT scan, and
MRI may provide a more complete
look at the injured elbow.
- Laboratory tests generally aren't needed for people with broken elbows. If
the patient is taking certain medications, have certain health conditions,
or requires an operation to repair the broken elbow, additional lab tests
may be ordered.
the doctor is concerned that the artery that runs by the elbow has been cut,
an arteriogram may be recommended.
this test, the doctor puts dye into the artery to see if it is damaged.
damaged artery may need to be surgically repaired because it supplies all
the blood to the wrist and hand.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/31/2014
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