Subluxating Ulnar Nerve at the Elbow

about ultrasound findings of post-traumatic ulnar nerve subluxation

This is the case of a direct blow to a flexed elbow. The X-ray and Mri exams show a condylar fracture of the humerus, with a partial cortical bone detachment; a gross joint capsule distension is also evident.

Elbow Mri-xray

Coronal Xbone-T1w Mri scan (0.3 Tesla) and Plain Radiography.

Condylar Fracture

Coronal Stir (left) and T1w (right) Mri scans of the same patient (0.3 Tesla).

Why ultrasound in this case? Because after 1 month the patient feels pain on the posterior-medial aspect of the elbow, especially during the flexion-extension active movement, with distal pain irradiation to the forearm.

The dynamic ultrasound exam better depicts the clinical picture of a post-traumatic ulnar nerve subluxation at the sulcus ulnaris, togheter with a gross joint synovitis.

Ulnar Nerve Inflammation

Axial T2w (left) and Stir (right) Mri scans of the same patient (0.3 Tesla).

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Ulnar Nerve Synovial Impingement

about dynamic ultrasound findings of ulnar nerve synovial impingement

This is the case of a patient suffering for a post-traumatic olecranon bursitis with ulnar nerve entrapment symptoms, one month after an elbow contusion.

A standard plain radiograph was made immediatly after trauma, showing a small bony fragment of the olecranon cortical surface.

Elbow

Olecranon Bursitis

Sagittal T2w (left) and Axial T2w (right) Mri scans (0.3 Tesla).

The Mri exam shows a gross olecranon bursitis, but the inflammatory process involving the ulnar nerve is better appreciated with the dynamic ultrasound examination.

My suggestion is always tha same… Mri and Ultrasound exams complement each other succesfully, so use both togheter in your daily practice.