Elbow JointsCenter for Advanced orthopedics

Elbow Joints Surgery

The elbow is the joint where three long bones meet in the middle portion of the arm. The bone of the upper arm (humerus) meets the inner bone of the forearm (ulna) and the outer bone of the forearm (radius) to form a hinge joint. The radius and ulna also meet in the elbow to allow for rotation of the forearm.

Elbow Joints Surgery

The elbow functions to move the arm like a hinge (forward and backward) and in rotation (twisting outward and inward). The biceps muscle is the major muscle that flexes the elbow hinge. The triceps muscle is the major muscle that extends the elbow hinge. The outer bone of the elbow is referred to as the lateral epicondyle and is a part of the humerus bone. Tendons are attached to this area and can be injured, causing inflammation or tendinitis (lateral epicondylitis, or “tennis elbow”).

The inner portion of the elbow is a bony prominence called the medial epicondyle. Additional tendons from the muscles attached here can be injured, causing medial epicondylitis, or “golfer’s elbow.” A fluid-filled sac (bursa), which serves to reduce friction, overlies the tip of the elbow (olecranon bursa). Bumping the tip of the elbow can irritate this bursa. The elbow can be affected by inflammation of the tendons or the bursae (plural for bursa), or conditions that affect the bones and joints, such as fractures,arthritis, or nerve irritation.

Thus, to treat the above conditions Elbow Joints Surgery is recommended based on the patient’s medical history.

Though elbow joint replacement surgeries is very less common than other surgeries such as knee or hip, it is just as successful as those in relieving joint pain & returning people to the day to day activities.

Types of elbow replacement

In few cases, patient may need a replacement of just one portion of joint. For instance, if only the head of one of patient’s forearm bones (radius) is injured or damaged, it can be replaced with an artificial head. In case of entire joint replacement, the ends of bones that meet in the elbow will be detached.

The following are the two main types of prosthetic devices used or available while performing elbow replacement:

Linked. This type acts slightly like a loose hinge because all the parts of replacement joint are linked. This gives good joint stability,however, the stresses of movement may result in the prosthesis working itself loose from where it is inserted into the arm bones.

Unlinked. This type comes in two different pieces that aren't linked to each other. It depends on the nearby ligaments that assist in holding the joint together, which make it more prone to displacement.

Reasons for Elbow Joint Replacement Surgery

Elbow joint replacement surgery is necessary because of the following conditions:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tumors
  • Post-traumatic arthritis, a type of arthritis that can occur after a severe elbow surgery or injury, which results in pain &restricted elbow function
  • Acute fractures of upper or lower arm, situated near the elbow
  • Tissue tears
Elbow joint replacement surgery is necessary because of the following conditions

Post-Operative Care guidelines

  • Expected to stay in hospital for3-4 days after the surgery.
  • Arm will be in a splintwith a bulky dressing
  • Uplifting the elbow on a pillow above the heart level & applying ice packs over the dressing reduces the swelling & discomfort.
  • Sutures will be removed after a period of 12-14 days.
  • Always keep the incision clean & dry
  • Follow the specific instructions about the activity & rehabilitation.
  • Eat a healthy diet &avoid smoking for quick healing.
Elbow Joint Replacement Surgery Post-Operative Care guidelines

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