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Home >> Specialities >> Bone, Joint Replacement and Orthopedics >> Elbow Joint Replacement

Elbow Joint Replacement

This surgical intervention is not as common as other joint replacement procedures, yet it is very effective in relieving pain and discomfort. Patients also experience improved mobility and strength. Doctors may either replace all the components of the elbow joint or leave some of them intact. This primarily depends upon the extent of the damage. Elbow replacement may be done for damage caused by arthritis, fractures and tumours. 

What is elbow joint replacement?
Elbow joint replacement surgery, or simply elbow arthroplasty is the ultimate solution for patients who want to get rid of persistent elbow pain. The surgery works by replacing the affected elbow joint with a prosthetic joint. Doctors may not necessarily remove the entire joint and operate only upon the affected portion, leaving the remaining part intact. The surgery will not only help to relieve pain but also enhance the mobility and range of motion of your elbow. 

What are the different types of elbow joint replacement?
Elbow joint replacement surgery is broadly classified into the following types:
●    Hinged elbow replacement, which involves the use of a hinge to connect the prosthetic components to the ends of the bones 
●    Unhinged elbow replacement, which does not involve the use of a hinge, but rather the patient’s own tissues to connect the prosthetic components to the bone ends

Who is recommended to go for elbow joint replacement??
Elbow joint replacement surgery is recommended for people experiencing chronic elbow pain that is not responding to any non-invasive treatment modality. This may be due to any of the following: 
●    An injury, such as a crack or a fracture in the elbow
●    Degenerative joint diseases like arthritis 
●    Autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis 

What happens before the procedure?
●    Doctors will perform certain tests and assessments to evaluate the extent of damage and curate a proper surgical plan to be followed
●    This is followed by a thorough assessment of your past medical records to make sure you do not have any existing medical condition that can interfere with the course of the orthopaedics treatment.
●    You will be informed about the medical procedure and the various benefits and risks involved 
●    Avoid smoking and drinking as these can interfere with the recovery
●    You will need to refrain from consuming anything, starting at least 8 hours prior to the surgery
●    You will have to make necessary arrangements at home to make sure that you do not face any difficulty post-surgery

What happens during the procedure?
●    A nurse will start an intravenous line to administer nutritional fluids and medication to your arm 
●    You will be connected to a monitor that will simultaneously record your vitals i.e. heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, etc
●    Once you are under the influence of anaesthesia, the surgical site will be cleaned and doctors will carefully make an incision to access the affected joint components.
●    Doctors will carefully replace the damaged joint components and fix the prosthetic parts in the right position
●    The incision is then closed and a drain may be placed to allow excess fluids to come out

What to expect after the procedure?
●    After the procedure, you can experience mild pain and discomfort which can be taken care of  with the help of prescribed pain medication
●    Rigorous physical activities should be avoided, such as pulling and pushing heavy weights
●    You will need to go for physiotherapy for a quick recovery
●    You will also have to go for regular check-ups to help your doctors keep a track of your progress

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