Elbow and arm joint pains can be quite hard to deal with and they can affect your everyday life as well. This is why a lot of people who are unable to bear the pain, gravitate towards elbow surgery recommended by their elbow injury doctor. Here are some things you need to know about total elbow replacement surgery.

What Is Total Elbow Replacement Surgery?

The human elbow is an intricate connection of 3 bones which are fused together via an articular cartilage at the end of the elbow joint. The 3 bones are namely the ulna, the radius and the humerus. In order to move the elbow effortlessly, the membranes surrounding the elbow joint take some fluid from the surrounding and lubricate these bones so that there is no friction or difficulty in moving the bones.

Now, in elbow injuries, either the lubrication can be affected, or the bone altogether may be broken or fractured from somewhere. In total elbow replacement surgery, the fractured and injured parts of the humerus, radius and ulna are replaced by artificial bones or prosthetics. The prosthetics are usually made up of metal and plastic and these contraptions mimic the actual anatomy as well as the function of an actual elbow. There are also actual metal hinges which will help to bend your elbow to a 90-degree angle.

You might have to go for total elbow replacement surgery if your bones are fractured beyond the point of no return or you have suffered a serious injury which is preventing the movement and proper functioning of the elbow and its neighboring parts.

What To Expect From Total Elbow Replacement Surgery?

Here are some things you need to remember and take care of prior and after the surgery. They are as follows:

Before The Surgery

First of all, you need to know why you are getting the surgery. Your elbow is either extremely fractured, it is unable to move properly or you are suffering from diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis, which causes extreme weakness of the bones. Depending on the extent of the injury, you will either need a partial or total elbow replacement surgery.

Before the surgery, you will need to go through a complete medical evaluation. You should not be suffering from any sort of heart or blood disease, because it may cause hindrance in the surgery. Your doctor should do a thorough check up on you beforehand.

If you are consuming any sort of blood thinning medication or blood pressure control medications then you need to cease their consumption about a week before the surgery. If these medications are not stopped, it may cause a lot of post-surgical bleeding and it will be hard to control.

The Surgical Procedure

The elbow surgery is a little invasive, so after the surgery, you might have difficulty in lifting up your arm or moving it too much. This is completely normal and it lasts for about a week. Make sure that you are not doing strenuous work right after the surgery or else the placement of the prosthetics may be disturbed.

During the surgery and for some time after that, you might have a tube inserted in your arm. This is for the purpose of draining out the surgical fluids from the elbow.

Post Surgery

You might have a small incision after the surgery, so you need to take proper care of it until it fully heals. You cannot get it infected otherwise the after effects will be detrimental.

You will be staying in the hospital for about 4 days up to a week, after your surgery. You will be prescribed some antibiotics and pain medications which will help to alleviate some of the pain that you might be feeling.

The long-term effects of the surgery are positive and it leads to better movement of the elbow and an even better way of living without pain.


There you have it! With this thorough guide, you have everything you need to know about total elbow replacement surgery. This will give you a lot of information on what to expect before going to an orthopedic elbow specialist McLean and about the surgery, the pain tolerance and its success rate.