Elbow replacement, or elbow arthroplasty, is a procedure performed to either restructure or replace a severely damaged elbow joint. There are two separate types of elbow arthroplasty. The first is called Resection Arthroplasty and it is done to remove a portion of or the entire elbow joint. It is used to manage joint injury or infection after failure of a total elbow replacement. The second type of elbow arthroplasty is total replacement arthroplasty and it is used to remove both sides of the elbow and replace them with prosthesis.
Signs & Symptoms
Some signs and symptoms that may necessitate a full evaluation by your physician for an elbow replacement include deep, severe pain at the elbow joint, pain that prevents you from sleeping, difficulty or inability to perform activities with that arm due to pain, and little or no relief from anti-inflammatory or pain medications.
First, the individual lies on their back with the affected arm positioned at a 90 degree angle across the chest. An incision is made in the back of the upper and lower arm to expose the elbow joint.
At this point, either the entire joint is removed and replaced with prosthesis, or sections of tissue are removed and replaced around the joint to rebuild it. Next, the ends of the upper arm and inner forearm bone are removed.
Channels are then drilled into the center of the upper arm and inner forearm bones, and the prosthesis is cemented into the channels to form a new joint.