Systematic Approach to the Radiographic Interpretation of the Elbow to Avoid Common Diagnostic Errors Through a Checklist Approach

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In the setting of elbow trauma or pain, radiography is the initial imaging modality of choice. Subtle but clinically important abnormalities can be overlooked easily on standard radiographic views of the elbow as a result of overlapping osseous anatomy; and delayed diagnosis can result in early onset osteoarthrosis, chronic decreased mobility, and instability. Therefore, it is essential for radiologists to be proficient at the interpretation of elbow radiographs. The use of a checklist approach, and recognition of common injury patterns, can increase a radiologist's diagnostic accuracy when interpreting elbow radiographs. The objective of this article is to present a simple but thorough method for accurate radiographic evaluation of the elbow and to review some common injury patterns of the elbow.

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