Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Orthopedic Teaching

Elbow Case 2 Additional Images

Occult Radial Head Fracture

Another example of the anterior and posterior fat pads, resulting from an occult fracture, in this case a radial head fracture. Anterior fat pads are abnormal when they appear as a sail, known as the "sail sign." If a posterior fat pad is present, it is abnormal and indicates a fracture.

This is another case showing the fat pads. This xray comes from a patient with a lateral epicondyle fracture, but illustrates the same point as above- a "sail sign" in the anterior fat pad and the presence of a posterior fat pad, both indicating a fracture even if it is not apparent on the initial radiograph.

Another example of an occult radial head fracture. Remember, even if a fracture is not apparent, look for abnormal fat pads to help with diagnosis.