Shattered Elbow

A friend of mine had an accident while riding her bike at high speeds, resulting in an elbow shattered into six pieces. Some of the pieces were too far apart for there to be any hope of the bone healing properly, so she needed surgery to piece it all together.

My understanding at the time was that this meant a pin would be inserted into the bone, but as the X-ray shows, there was a lot more to it than that! I am not certain how this jumble of wires works together.

The twelve short lines at the bottom, by the way, are staples that were used in lieu of stitches.

Shattered elbow X-ray

Not too long after she moved to Seattle, and only a couple days after starting a new job, she was riding to the store when she found herself on a street with streetcar tracks. Once she recognized the danger, there was not enough time to stop before her bike’s tire dropped into the gap between the road and the rail, sending her flying.

Edit: see another image of this in Shattered Elbow II.