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Traumatic elbow arthrotomy after motorcycle accident not evident on CT
  1. John C Bunyasaranand1,
  2. Nicholas C Foeger2,
  3. Paul M Ryan2
  1. 1Graduate Medical Education, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
  2. 2Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr John C Bunyasaranand, jbunya{at}


An 84-year-old man sustained a motorcycle accident resulting in a left elbow laceration. Orthopaedics was consulted to rule out traumatic arthrotomy. Radiographs and CT of the left elbow showed no acute osseous abnormalities and no evidence of traumatic arthrotomy. The wound was irrigated, dressed and splinted. On follow-up, the patient reported that he had been given clindamycin on a return visit to the emergency department for increased drainage. On inspection, the patient’s wound was found sutured and draining purulent fluid. The patient persistently had no pain on axial loading or range of motion since his injury and no evidence of intra-articular air on initial CT. However, given the mechanism of injury, irrigation and debridement (I&D) in the operating room was immediately performed revealing purulent joint fluid and a traumatic arthrotomy. I&D was carried out for the second time in the joint. After an extended hospital stay and antibiotics, the infection resolved.

  • infections
  • trauma
  • bone and joint infections
  • orthopaedic and trauma surgery
  • radiology

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  • Handling editor Seema Biswas

  • Contributors JCB assisted NCF with the management of the case, assisted with the literature review and wrote the draft manuscript. NCF managed the case and provided editorial oversight of the manuscript. PMR also managed the case, proposed the idea of submitting the article, conducted the initial literature review, obtained patient consent, reviewed the final manuscript and responded to reviewers’ comments.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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