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Test Findings

Fat Pads of the Elbow

August 24th, 2017


  • Look For

  • Presence and elevation of the anterior and posterior fat pads on the lateral elbow x-ray.
  • Interpretation

  • Visible anterior fat pad - radiolucency anterior to the distal humerus, normally visible
  • Visible posterior fat pad - radiolucency posterior to the olecranon, normally hidden behind olecranon and thus presence indicates effusionOccult fracture
  • Sail sign - raised anterior fat pad due to effusionOccult fracture, usually of radial head
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