Radiology Review

A Different Source of Elbow Pain

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A 30-year-old man is brought to your facility after being in a motor vehicle collision. He was an unrestrained driver who lost control of his vehicle, went off the road, and hit a tree. Emergency personnel on the scene indicated there was moderate damage to his vehicle, including a broken windshield, and no air bag deployment. The patient is complaining of right shoulder, chest, hip, and left elbow pain. His medical history is unremarkable. His vital signs are normal. On physical examination, he has superficial lacerations on his forehead, face, and both forearms. Bleeding from all wounds is controlled. Palpation reveals some bruising of the right shoulder, chest, right hip, and left elbow; no obvious deformity or neurovascular compromise is noted. Multiple radiographs are ordered; the left elbow is shown. What is your impression?


The radiograph shows no obvious fracture or dislocation. However, there are two small, radiopaque densities noted within the soft tissue. These are most likely consistent with broken glass pieces.

When the laceration was irrigated and the wound probed, the glass bits were found and removed prior to wound closure.

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