Sunday, April 29, 2012

Elbow Ossification Centers

The elbow ossification centers ossify at different ages as a child develops. Knowing the timeline of ossification is very important when assessing whether a child has a fracture in their elbow. A helpful mnemonic for remembering the ossification centers of the elbow is the six-letter made-up word of CRITOE. I suppose it rhymes with 'elbow', but other than that - I don't see the relationship, but it is memorable enough for our purposes:

Ossification SiteAge (years)
CCapitulum1
RRadial Head3
IInternal (medial) epicondyle5
TTrochlea7
OOlecranon9
EExternal (lateral) epicondyle11

Of these, the I and T are the most important: the trochlea ossification center should not appear before the medial epicondyle one. I found the image below to be helpful, given the superimposed drawing: 

Ossification Centers of the Elbow
Ossification Centers of the Elbow
Source: Radiology Assistant