Fracture of the radial head is a common injury. Over the last decades, the radial head is increasingly recognized as an important stabilizer of the elbow. In order to maintain stability of the injured elbow, goals of treatment of radial head fractures have become more and more towards restoring function and stability of the elbow. Most radial head fractures can be managed non-surgical, with emphasis on early motion to achieve good results.

Treatment of more complex radial head fractures, however, especially those associated with elbow instability, remains difficult and the choice for such injury is between open reduction and internal fixation and arthroplasty.

Modern implants and techniques have led to improvements in both of these technically demanding procedures. Fracture complexity also should be used as a guide when selecting treatment, and proper surgical technique is critical for success.