Elbow Replacement

Elbow replacement surgery is performed to replace the damaged elbow joint with an artificial joint called prosthesis. It involves replacement of damaged parts of the humerus and ulna bones with artificial components. Elbow replacement can be partial or total depending upon the damage of the bones. In fact different types of elbow replacement procedures are performed on different patients. The artificial components too come in different sizes to fit the need of different sized individuals.

The artificial elbow joint also called as prosthesis is made up of a metal and plastic hinge with two metal stems that fit inside the hollow part of the bone called the canal.

elbow joint replacement

Indications of Elbow replacement

Replacement is required in cases of badly damaged elbow that is causing severe pain to the patient to an extent that patient cannot use their arm. The main causes of damage include the following:

  • Osteoarthritis of the elbow joint

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Poor outcome or failed previous elbow surgery

  • Trauma

  • Elbow instability

  • Badly broken or fractured bone in the upper or lower arm near the elbow

  • Badly damaged or torn tissues in the elbow

  • Tumor in or around the elbow

  • Stiff elbow

Surgical Procedure

The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia with surgeon making an incision at the back of the elbow joint. After gently moving the nerve and muscles aside, bone is accessed and prepared to fit the metallic piece that will replace the side of the joint. The same preparation is performed for both humerus and ulna. As the bones are ready, the replacement stems are placed into the humerus and ulna bones and connected by a hinge pin, and kept in place with bone cement. The wound is closed and dressing is done to allow healing.

Advantages of Elbow joint replacement

The possible advantages elbow joint replacement includes:

  • Reduced joint pain

  • Improved range of joint movement

  • Improved quality of life

  • Better sleep to the patient

  • Patient can perform activities of daily living