The Sail Sign
- The sail sign on an elbow x-ray describes the elevation of the anterior fat pad to create a silhouette similar to a billowing spinnaker sail from a boat. It indicates the presence of an elbow joint effusion.
- The anterior fat pad is usually concealed or seen parallel to the humeral line. When there is a joint effusion, the anterior fat pad becomes elevated.
- Elevation of the anterior fat pad usually indicates the presence of an intra-articular fracture. In adults, this is usually a radial head fracture whereas in children, the commonest cause of a raised elbow fat pad is a supracondylar fracture.
Radial head fractures are managed conservatively as they heal well without intervention.
- Polysling in a position comfortable for the patient
- Virtual fracture clinic referral
- If elderly with poor mobility, please consider referral to REACT prior to discharge
* * * * *