Forty intact cadaver elbows were studied to determine the contribution of the capitellum to elbow stability. With the elbow at 10 degrees of flexion, valgus motion of the elbow after capitellum excision demonstrated a minimal increase. Although some increase in valgus motion did occur after capitellum excision and radial head resection it was not until the ulnar collateral ligament was released that a severe valgus deformity was produced. In addition, isolated capitellum excisions occurring with release of the medial collateral ligament produced severe valgus motion, demonstrating the importance of medial structures to elbow stability. The cadaver study suggests excision of the capitellum in the otherwise intact elbow has little effect on valgus motion. Over the past 15 years, 17 patients with fractures of the capitellum were treated. Followup at greater than 1 year utilizing various treatment modalities is reported. Although closed reduction gave the best result, acceptable results were also obtained by open reduction and internal fixation and excision. Our clinical findings corroborated the cadaver findings in that valgus instability of the elbow only occurred when fracture of the capitellum was associated with medial ligament injuries.