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Elbow replacement

Elbow replacement surgery, also known as elbow arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which the surgeon replaces the elbow joint with an artificial joint. The surgery may be done to reduce constant pain and stiffness in the elbow. The surgery is known to improve the ability of the individual to participate in daily life activities which were difficult before.

Why is it done?
The elbow joint is made by 3 bones- humerus, the bone in the arm, and radius and ulna, the two bones present in the forearm. These three bones are bound by a connective tissue known as the cartilage which provides a smooth surface for the bones to move on. In case of any damage to the bones or the cartilage due to diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, etc, or due to fractures that affect the elbow joint, the joint can become really painful and swollen. Such conditions can benefit from a joint replacement.

What happens during the surgery?
During the surgery, the parts of the elbow that are damaged are removed and are replaced with artificial metal implants to form a joint that resembles the elbow joint. The entire joint or a part of it can be replaced depending on the condition and the requirement of the patient. There are two types of artificial joints that can be used depending on the reason for the surgery. The types are:

  • Linked- an artificial connecting system is used to connect the artificial humerus, ulna and radius.
  • Unlinked- The patient’s own connective tissues are used to connect the artificial joint parts.

What can be expected after the surgery?
For a few days after the surgery, you can expect swelling to remain, as the structures that have been operated upon take time to heal. Elevation, icing and compression dressing can help in reducing this swelling. Your doctor may prescribe you pain relieving medications if you experience excruciating pain.
Immediately after the surgery, gentle range of motion exercises can be started under supervision of a physiotherapist. It is generally prohibited to force the movement of the elbow or bear weight on the operated hand until a few weeks after the surgery.

How long does it take to recover from the surgery?
It generally takes upto 3 months to completely regain the function of the upper limb. After the recovery most patients experience a great reduction in pain than before the surgery and are able to perform their daily activities in a much better manner.
It is usually suggested to not lift weights heavier than 3 kgs with the operated arm for quite some time after the surgery.
Your doctor can guide you appropriately about the plan of action for your treatment and suggest if you need to undergo the surgery. Your doctor will also brief you in detail about the precautions you need to take after the surgery and what you can do to take care of your new joint.

How Sancheti Hospital can help you?
Get the right diagnosis, consultation, and the best treatment options at Sancheti Hospital. Sancheti Hospital’s experienced panel of doctors can suggest the right treatment for you and also help you recover faster. The hospital is known for having access to the latest medical technology and advanced infrastructure required for successful surgeries.

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