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Home > Revival Services > Centers of Excellence > Elbow Replacement
 
Elbow Replacement

Elbow replacement is surgery to replace the bones of the elbow joint with artificial joint parts (prosthetics).

The elbow joint connects two bones:

  • The humerus in the upper arm
  • The ulna in the lower arm

The artificial elbow joint has two stems made of high-quality metal. A metal and plastic hinge joins the stems together and allows the artificial joint to bend. Artificial joints come in different sizes to fit different size people.

You may receive general anesthesia before surgery. This means you will be asleep and pain-free during surgery. Some patient may receive regional anesthesia instead. This means, you will be awake, but your arm will be numb so that you will not feel pain. If you receive regional anesthesia, you will also be given medicine to help you relax during the operation.

Your surgeon will make a surgical cut on your arm to reveal your elbow joint. Usually this is made in the back of the upper and lower arm. The surgeon then removes damaged tissue and parts of the arm bones that make up the elbow joint.

A drill is used to make a hole in the center of the two arm bones. The ends of the artificial elbow joint stems are placed into each bone. The two stems are attached together with a hinge.

The wound is closed with stitches, and a bandaged is applied. Your arm may be placed in a splint to keep it stable.

 
Why the Procedure is performed?

Elbow replacement surgery is usually done if the elbow joint is badly damaged and you have pain or cannot use your arm. Some causes of damage are:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Poor outcome from previous elbow surgery
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Badly broken bone in the upper or lower arm near the elbow
  • Badly damaged or torn tissues in the elbow
  • Tumor in or around the elbow
Risks
 
The risks for any anesthesia are:
  • Allergic reactions to medicines
  • Breathing problems
 
The risks for any surgery are:
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clot
  • Infection
 
Additional risks of elbow replacement surgery are:
  • Allergic reaction to the artificial joint
  • Blood vessel damage during surgery
  • Bone break during surgery
  • Dislocation of the artificial joint
  • Loosening of the artificial joint over time
  • Nerve damage during surgery
 
Indications:
  • Un-recontructable fracture
  • Pre- existing articular damage
  • Extensive articular comminution
  • Low physical demand of the patients
  • Patients over the age of 60 yrs with osteoporosis, Articular comminution.
  • In such cases longer immobilization will be required if fixation of the fracture is undertaken.
 
Contra - Indications:
  • Compound fracture
  • High demand patients
  • Poor skin condition
  • Active Infection
 
Advantage:
  • Pain relief
  • Early mobilization
  • Good function
Post Operation Protocol:
  • Immediate anterior splint in fully extended position
  • Arm elevated
  • Day 2 or 3, active assisted ROM exercised and night splinting
 
Complications and Cautions :
  • Triceps insufficiency
  • Ulner nurapraxia
  • Loosening in young and active patients
 
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