An elbow replacement surgery is a surgical procedure through which the doctor will try to restore the normal functioning and movement to the elbow, mostly, when it is affected by severe arthritis or suffers damage from a traumatic injury that leaves it with diminished functioning. The doctor will remove the damaged and painful elbow joint and replace it with a prosthetic implant which helps to regain function and restore function.
The main reasons for opting elbow replacement surgery are severe pain and major injuries to the arm or the elbow that affect normal functioning in the elbow joint.
Here are a few reasons when the doctor would suggest a complete elbow replacement surgery to you:
The surgery begins with a complete review of your medical history and a full body checkup to ensure that you are ready to undergo the surgical procedure. The doctor will put you under general anesthesia so that you do not feel any pain or discomfort.
The surgery begins with the surgeon making a small (3 inch) incision at the back of the elbow. After this the surgeon will shift aside any underlying muscle group or tendons to get a clear view of the elbow joint bones. In case of injured tendons or broken bones the surgeons will gently remove these without disturbing the healthy components. The surgeon then prepares the humerus (upper arm bone) for attaching the artificial implant in place of the joint part of the arm bone. The same procedure is done on the ulna (forearm bone).
The implant stems are fixed to the humerus and the ulna bones and held together with surgical cement. These implants are fixed together with a hinge pin. This completes the replacement procedure and the surgeon will close the incision after this.
At times, the surgeon would be required to place a small tube coming out from the operated elbow joint to drain any excess fluid which might get collected in the elbow.
The artificial implants are sterile alloys made from either titanium or chrome-cobalt which have a lubricating layer of polyethylene. The surgical cement used in the procedure is made of polymethyl-methacrylate (a type of acrylic plastic).
The doctor will prescribe certain antibiotics to reduce the risks of infection and advise a hospital stay of 2-4 days post surgery.
If the operated area gets intensely painful the doctor will also prescribe suitable painkillers to ease the pain.
As with any type of major surgery there are chances of certain risks and complications that can possibly arise from an elbow replacement surgery. These are:
Shoulder replacement surgery is highly recommended for elderly aged patients suffering from severe form of arthritis. This surgical procedure works wonders to alleviate the pain and restore the movement and function of the affected elbow. In case of a major and traumatic elbow injury the elbow replacement surgery helps to relieve pain and return the use of the injured elbow joint in a shorter time period.
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