The man made elbow joint has two stems made of high quality metal. A metal and plastic hinge joins the stem to allow the artificial stem to bend. In order to make pain-free, general anesthesia may be provided before surgery. Some patients may provide with regional anesthesia, you will be awake but arm will be insensitive.
Surgeon will cut on your arm to expose the elbow joint. Normally this is done on the back of upper and lower arm. After that, the damaged tissues and bone are removed. A drill is use to make a hole at the center of the arm bones. At this point, the man made bone is placed and that will heal the elbow joint.
Reasons for Elbow replacement surgery :
- Tennis Elbow: Tennis elbow is inflammation, soreness, or pain on the outside (lateral) side of the upper arm near the elbow.
- Removing Bone spurs: Using arthroscopic technique, your doctor will remove the bone spurs. A incisions are made and through which keyhole camera and tools are sent to chip the born spurs.
- Removing Loose Debris
- Assessing Cartilage Damage: Factors such as instability and impingement lead to early cartilage damage, it shows be asssessed.
- Loosening the Joint Capsule: The capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint is a very strong ligament that helps to keep the shoulder in the joint. Usually this part gets outgripped, overtime.
All operations involve an element of risk. We do not wish to over- emphasize the risks, but feel that you should be aware of them. They include:
- Complications relating to the anaesthetic such as sickness, nausea or rarely cardiac, respiratory or neurological.
- Infection – this is usually a superficial wound problem. Occasionally deep infection may occur after the operation. If you get a deep infection in the elbow replacement the new joint will have to be removed.
- Damage to the nerves and blood vessels around the elbow –temporary damage to the nerve (ulnar) is quite common. This may give pins and needles or numbness in the little and ring fingers. For most people these effects are temporary, for a minority they can remain long term.
- Loosening of the elbow replacement may result in a need to redo the surgery.
- Dislocation of the elbow replacement – the new joint can dislocate, which will result in the hinge not working well and you will probably have some pain. This may require a further operation to sort out the problem.
- Broken bone – either during or after the operation. Sometimes the bone is very thin and fragile at the bottom end of the arm bone. It can break off. This will be treated either by a further operation or by wearing a cast to protect it whilst it is healing.
- Unwanted stiffness and/or pain in (and around) the elbow.
You will probably be off work approximately 6–8 weeks, depending on the type of job you have. If you are involved in overhead activities you are advised not to do these for 3–6 months. You may be advised to change your employment if you have to do lifting or heavy manual work. Please discuss any queries with Dr. Mohan.
Elbow replacement surgery is not complicated under the screen of Dr. Mohan and team.
Authored by Dr.Thadi Mohan