Total elbow arthroplasty is a type of elbow replacement surgery. The procedure involves removing damaged areas of the elbow joint and replacing them with an artificial elbow joint made of metal and plastic (implants).
Your elbow joint is made up of three bones: the upper arm bone (the humerus) and the forearm bones (the ulna and radius). The bones join like a loose hinge with the two forearm bones also allowing some rotation.
Advances in implant design and surgical technique have helped to increase the success rate of elbow replacements in recent years. Call Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow now if you need elbow treatment in Marietta and Atlanta, GA.
Total elbow replacement may be needed to relieve pain and restore elbow motion. In many cases, surgery and other treatments can be used to treat arthritis and fractures. However, when the condition is severe, a total elbow replacement may be needed.
The following list gives some possible reasons why you may need a total elbow replacement:
As with any surgery, there are some risks involved with elbow joint replacement surgery. You should consider the following risks before you decide to have the treatment:
You will be evaluated by your orthopedic surgeon before surgery. The appointment may include the following.
You will also be asked about your medical history and what medicines you take.
Total elbow replacements are performed under general anesthetic. You may also be given a nerve block for further pain relief after waking up.
Your surgeon will begin by removing the damaged ends of the bones in your elbow. The surgeon will then attach the artificial joint to the bones.
The artificial joint is made up of a metal and plastic hinge with two metal stems. The stems enter into the soft center of the bones. One end will be cemented into the distal humerus and the other end will be cemented into the ulnar.
In some cases, your surgeon will use a linking cap to provide more stability to your elbow joint. The total procedure should be completed within 1-2 hours.
Immediately after the surgery, you will be given some time to rest and wake up from the anesthetic. In some cases, you may be able to return home on the same day.
For the next few days or weeks, you will use a sling or a splint to support the elbow joint. You may temporarily need to use a drain to keep fluids from pooling at the elbow.
Exercises will be given to you to help you with recovery. Most patients recover from total elbow replacement within 3 months.
After the recovery period is finished, you are likely to have less pain than you did before surgery. Many patients have no pain. You are also likely to have an improved range of motion and strength.
Consulting an elbow specialist can help you to find solutions for chronic pain. They will also help you to resume some of your everyday activities.
At Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow, we offer professional treatment for many elbow conditions. Our specialists will assess your condition to identify suitable treatment methods. They may suggest personalized therapy and recommend exercises to restore motion.
Contact Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow now if you need elbow treatment in Marietta and Atlanta, GA. Our trained doctors look forward to assisting you!
Medically reviewed by
Randall Alexander, MD