Elbow replacement surgery – also called elbow arthroplasty – replaces damaged bone and cartilage in the elbow joint with a prosthetic (artificial) implant. This complex procedure includes two implants: a metal and plastic joint hinge, and metal attachments to the ends of the upper and lower arm bones.
Elbow arthroplasty is a successful treatment for arthritis, including osteoarthritis (degenerative “wear and tear” on the joint), rheumatoid arthritis (chronic inflammatory joint disorder), and other conditions that cause severe elbow pain and injury. In addition to pain relief, elbow replacement surgery can improve range of motion, mobility, and quality of life.
Who is a Candidate?
Elbow joint replacement surgery is an option when non-surgical treatments – such as medicines, bracing, physical therapy, and rehabilitation – haven’t successfully relieved your pain. It can also help patients with a previous elbow replacement surgery that was not effective to improve range of motion.
What to Expect?
An orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in conditions affecting the elbow and upper arm performs elbow replacement surgery. The operation lasts about two hours, and requires general anesthesia and/or a regional nerve block, an injection that blocks pain signals to the brain.
During the procedure, the surgeon makes an incision on the back of the elbow. The surgeon enters the elbow to remove the damaged joint, hollow out the ends of the arm bones, and implant the prosthetic attachments and hinge joint.
After testing the new joint for proper placement, the surgical site is closed and a splint is placed on your arm to keep it stable.
Recovery time for elbow replacement surgery varies, but most people spend a few days in the hospital and require up to three months of outpatient (clinic) rehabilitation and physical and occupational therapy following surgery.
Why Choose UHealth?
Highly experienced in treating a full range of orthopaedic conditions. Our team of fellowship-trained orthopaedic specialists works together with a multidisciplinary group of physicians and scientists to provide high-quality care to patients with benign (noncancerous) and malignant (cancerous) conditions. These include musculoskeletal diseases, bone and soft tissue sarcomas, metastatic diseases, and benign neoplasms of bone and soft tissue, as well as all types of orthopaedic injuries.
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