Total Elbow Replacement (Elbow Arthroplasty)


Are you experiencing elbow pain?

Are you experiencing pain or burning in your elbow from severe arthritis, or from a recent fall or other injury?

If so, you may be a candidate for elbow joint replacement. This procedure is becoming more widely accepted as the best treatment to replace elbow joints that are severely damaged by arthritis or by serious elbow fractures that most likely won’t heal on their own or with a less-invasive treatment.

Your elbow joint is made up of three bones: the humerus (your upper arm bone), the radius and the ulna, the latter two of which are located in your forearm. The ulna and the humerus meet at the elbow to form a hinge that allows you to bend and straighten your arm. Inside your elbow joint is articular cartilage that protects your bone ends from friction as they rub together when you move your elbow.

An orthopedic specialist will need to examine your specific situation. That being said, in many aging adults with osteoporosis, their bones are less dense than they should be; this makes it less likely that elbow joint replacement would be successful because the fractured bones (to which the surgeon would need to attach necessary hardware for healing) aren’t strong enough. In this case, it may be better to remove the fractured pieces of the elbow joint and replace them with an artificial joint.

Nonsurgical treatment of elbow joint pain may include rest, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, bracing, steroid injections such as cortisone and even shock wave therapy. If your symptoms do not respond to any of these nonsurgical treatments after six to 12 months, your doctor may recommend joint repair or replacement surgery.