The Elbow Center
at Modern Orthopedics of New Jersey
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72 Route 17 North
Paramus, NJ 07652
2025 Hamburg Turnpike
STE C, Wayne, NJ 07470
#207, Parsippany, NJ 07054
Elbow replacement surgery (elbow arthroplasty) is a treatment option for a painful elbow joint, most commonly due to conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis. This procedure can dramatically decrease pain, increase range of motion, and improve quality of life.
What Does a Damaged Elbow Joint Look Like
If the elbow joint has been damaged by inflammation or traumatic injury, there is often damage to the smooth cartilage surfaces that causes pain, swelling, limited range of motion, and clicking or catching. If damage has occurred as the result of a chronic condition such as arthritis. The external appearance of the elbow may look relatively normal, despite the pain and dysfunction.
Anatomy of the Elbow Joint
The elbow is a hinge joint that allows the arm to position the hand in space and makes the rotation of the wrist and hand possible (palm up or palm down). It holds together the three arm bones: The humerus (upper arm bone), radius, and ulna (lower arm bones). The elbow joint is connected by several ligaments and muscles.
The elbow joint surfaces are covered in cartilage. The joint is contained by capsule tissue, and the inner lining of the capsule is made up of a specialized tissue called synovium. Synovium produces synovial fluid, a clear viscous fluid that helps lubricate the joint surfaces and decreases friction. Damage to the elbow cartilage and bone structure may result in chronic pain, inflammation, stiffness, and restricted range of motion.
What Are the Common Symptoms of a Damaged Elbow Joint?
Common symptoms of a damaged elbow joint include:
- Chronic inflammation
- Chronic pain
- Chronic stiffness
- Limited range of motion (bending and rotating)
- Traumatic injury that causes severe elbow pain
What Tests Are Performed To Diagnose a Damaged Elbow Joint?
To diagnose elbow joint damage, your orthopedic surgeon will usually take your medical history and perform a physical examination followed by diagnostic imaging tests such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI.
Schedule a Consultation With a New Jersey-Based Orthopedic Specialist
Have you sustained a traumatic injury to your elbow or been dealing with chronic elbow pain and mobility issues? The world-class team of surgeons at Modern Orthopaedics of New Jersey can help you determine whether or not you may be a good candidate for elbow replacement surgery.
How Are Elbow Joint Replacements Performed?
Elbow joint replacement surgery may either replace specific components of the elbow joint or be a total replacement procedure. In a total elbow arthroplasty, your orthopedic surgeon will remove damaged areas of the elbow joint and replace them with a hinge made of artificial components. The stems of the hinge may be inserted into the bone canals of the humerus and ulna (linked), or your own joint tissue may be used to connect them (unlinked).
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Would I Need an Elbow Replacement?
Elbow replacement surgery is usually performed on patients who have either: Sustained a traumatic injury to their elbow that would be extremely complicated to repair (for instance, if bones have been shattered); or who have an elbow joint affected by arthritis or another inflammatory disease. In rare cases, a bone tumor may also necessitate an elbow arthroplasty.
What Is Recovery Like After Elbow Replacement Surgery?
After elbow replacement surgery, patients must rest, elevate, and ice the affected elbow. In addition, pain medications and a splint will be placed. Gentle range of motion is usually started with the first week under the guidance of a therapist. Depending on how the triceps tendon is managed during the surgery (repaired versus spared), the timing for the progression to elbow strengthening will vary. After approximately six weeks, patients can begin active range of motion without restriction. If the triceps was repaired, strengthening may begin at three months. Physical therapy is usually an ongoing part of the rehabilitation process.
How Long Will My Replacement Joint Last?
For most patients, an elbow joint replacement will last ten years or more. To improve longevity of the total elbow implant, patients must understand that there is a lifetime repetitive lifting/pushing restriction of 10-15 lbs with that arm, and occasional lifting of up to 30 lbs.
Peter DeNoble, MD, FAAOS
Hand, Wrist, Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon
Meet Dr. DeNoble
Dr. Peter Denoble, MD, FAAOS specializes in Hand, Wrist, Shoulder, and Elbow Surgery. Dr. DeNoble is the Founder of Modern Orthopedics of NJ and is the Creator and Host of the of the Beyond The Bones Podcast.
David Ratliff, MD, FAAOS
Hand, Wrist, Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon
Meet Dr. Ratliff
Dr. Ratliff specializes in Hand, Wrist, Shoulder, and Elbow Surgery. Learn more about specialties, training and treatment philosphy by visiting Dr. Ratliff's full profile page.
A Different Orthopedic Experience.
We offer a comprehensive range of treatments, ensuring personalized, targeted plans for every patient.
Our multi-disciplinary approach involves various specialties to provide comprehensive care and recovery.
We prioritize patient comfort and satisfaction, creating a supportive environment for optimal healing.
We utilize cutting-edge technology for precise diagnosis and innovative treatment options.
Our team is composed of highly skilled, experienced orthopedic professionals, providing expert care.
Our robust post-treatment support ensures ongoing patient care through recovery and rehabilitation services.