Understanding your elbow
Knee replacement surgery in Hyderabad Secunderabad
The elbow is a hinge joint which is made up of three bones:
- The humerus (upper arm bone)
- The ulna (forearm bone on the pinky finger side)
- The radius (forearm bone on the thumb side)
The surfaces of the bones where they meet to form the elbow joint are covered with cartilage, a smooth substance that protects the bones and enables them to move easily. The tissues covering the elbow joints lubricates it for smooth movement and rotation.
Causes of elbow pain and indication of elbow replacement
Several conditions can cause elbow pain and disability, and lead patients and their doctors to consider elbow joint replacement surgery.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Chronic inflammation can damage the cartilage and eventually cause cartilage loss, pain, and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of a group of disorders termed "inflammatory arthritis."
- Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease) Osteoarthritis is an age-related, "wear and tear" type of arthritis. The cartilage that cushions the bones of the elbow softens and wears away. The bones then rub against one another. Over time, the elbow joint becomes stiff and painful.
- Post-traumatic Arthritis Fractures of the bones that make up the elbow, or tears of the surrounding tendons and ligaments may cause damage to the articular cartilage over time. This causes pain and limits elbow function.
- Severe Fractures A severe fracture of one or more bones that make up the elbow is another common reason people have elbow replacements. If the elbow is shattered, it may be very difficult for a doctor to put the pieces of bone back in place. In addition, the blood supply to the bone pieces can be interrupted.
What is elbow replacement surgery ?
In total elbow replacement surgery, the damaged parts of the upper arm bone and the forearm bone are replaced with artificial components.
The artificial elbow joint is made up of a metal and plastic hinge with two metal stems. The stems fit inside the hollow part of the bone called the canal.
There are different types of elbow replacements which come in different sizes as well. Post discussion with us, we can tell better as to which type of elbow replacement is better for you.
Why is elbow replacement surgery recommended ?
Your elbow can be damaged by problems ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to traumatic fractures.
In some cases, the damage can be surgically repaired. But if the damage is extensive, we might recommend elbow replacement surgery. Pain is the most common reason people choose to have elbow replacement surgery.
How is the surgery done?
To reach the elbow joint, your surgeon will make an incision (cut), usually at the back of the elbow. After making the incision, your surgeon will gently move muscles aside to get access to the bone. After removing scar tissue and spurs around the joint, your surgeon will prepare the upper arm to fit the metallic piece that will replace that side of the joint. The same preparation is done for the ulna.
The replacement stems are placed into the upper arm and forearm bones and kept in place with a bone cement. The two stems are connected by a hinge pin. After the wound is closed, a padded dressing is then placed to protect the incision while it heals.
Some surgeons will place a temporary tube in the joint to drain the surgical fluid. This tube can be easily removed in your hospital room within the first few days after surgery. The metal replacement parts are made of chrome-cobalt alloy or titanium and there is a liner made of plastic. The bone cement is made of acrylic, a type of plastic.
Post-operative care & recovery
Your medical team will give you several doses of antibiotics to prevent infection. Most patients are able to eat solid food and get out of bed the day after surgery. You will most likely stay at the hospital 2 to 4 days after your surgery.
A careful, well-planned rehabilitation program is critical to the success of an elbow replacement. You will be taught some exercises for your hand and wrist to avoid stiffness and help to control swelling. You will do gentle elbow range-of-motion exercises as the incision heals. Your doctor may prescribe therapy or may teach you how to do the exercises yourself. You will most likely not be allowed to put any weight on your arm or push against resistance with your hand until about 6 weeks after your surgery
Any risks or side effects of the surgery
The potential complications of the elbow replacement surgery include:
- Blood cots
- Infection caused by allergies or infection
- Implant loosening which can worn out over a period of time
- Nerve damage which can weaken and cause pain and numbness around the area
Reach out to us if you have
- Redness, swelling or warmth around the cut
- Leakage from the cut
- Fever and chills
- Severe pain that is not relieved by prescribed painkillers
- Loss of control over hand movement
- Loss of hand movement
- Further surgery planned for the future
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is there any other option to elbow replacement surgery ?
It depends on the condition of the joints and tissues around which can be diagnosed through x-rays and other tests. Medication and pain killers will be tried to relive you of the pain but if it doesn’t subside, elbow replacement will be the option.
2. Is there any age restriction for elbow replacement surgery ?
No, age is not a consideration for a elbow replacement surgery, only the conditions are.
3. Will my lifestyle be normal again ?
Doctors instructions have to be followed diligently and utmost precautions have to be taken for you to get back to normal pain free lifestyle. There has to be a gradual and persistent progress in physical activities which might take upto 12 months post-surgery.
4. What is the cost of having an elbow replacement surgery ?
The average cost of elbow replacement is around 3 lakh & can go upto 5.5 lakhs depending on multiple factors like method of surgery, implants, replacement kind and hospital stay.
5. Will my insurance cover the cost of the elbow replacement surgery?
Click here to know more about insurance at Yashoda hospitals.