Elbow joint replacement surgery, called total elbow arthroplasty, may help relieve the problems caused by osteoarthritis of the elbow and certain types of elbow fractures by replacing the joint with an artificial elbow joint.
The elbow is a hinge joint made up of the humerus bone of the upper arm and the radius and ulna bones of the forearm. The joint enables the arm to bend and straighten. Inside the joint, articular cartilage covers the bone ends and acts as a shock absorber when they rub together as the elbow moves.
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis or wear-and-tear arthritis, can cause the destruction of the articular cartilage and lead to pain from bone rubbing against bone. In aging adults whose bones are weakened by osteoporosis, elbow fractures can be very difficult to repair surgically.
The artificial joint is used to replace the damaged elbow joint with one made of metal and plastic and is designed to glide easily as you move your elbow. The hinge allows the elbow to bend and straighten smoothly.
Elbow joint replacement surgery is usually not considered until it has become impossible to relieve your symptoms with conservative treatment.
Discuss the options with an upper extremity subspecialist at Lancaster Orthopedic Group to determine if you may be a good candidate for the surgical procedure. Joint replacement surgery can be an effective way to relieve arthritis pain and regain the use of your elbow.