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Home : Specialty Care : Orthopedics : Elbow Replacement Surgery

Elbow Replacement Surgery

Elbow replacement is a highly effective treatment option for patients with severe elbow arthritis or difficult-to-treat elbow fractures.

Signs you are ready for elbow surgery
• Deep, severe pain at the elbow joint :
• Pain that keeps you awake at night
• Little or no relief from anti-inflammatory or pain medications
• Difficulty with activities that require raising the arm, such as drinking from a cup

Patients are not candidates for elbow replacement surgery if they are in very poor overall health, have an active infection, or have uncontrolled medical conditions. Most medical problems can be stabilized to allow elbow replacement surgery, if needed.

Non-surgical Treatment Options

Physical or Occupational Therapy
A therapist can help patients reduce pain and improve function of the elbow.  Typically treatments focus on reducing inflammation and regaining strength and range of motion of the affected area.
 
Wearing a brace
Certain elbow conditions maybe amendable to bracing.  Commonly patients with tendonitis of the elbow or tennis elbow are treated with a counterforce brace or wrist splint.  The counterforce brace is a strap worn around the forearm just below the elbow to spread pressure throughout the arm instead of putting it all on the tendon. With a counterforce brace, you may do some grasping and twisting activities. It won't help, though, if you continue using a poor technique or the wrong equipment that originally caused your tennis elbow. These braces can be found in most drugstores or sporting goods stores.

Changing how you do an activity or the equipment you use.
A sports trainer can help with sports activities and equipment. An ergonomic specialist, occupational therapist, or physical therapist can help with your workplace, including what tools you use, how your workspace is set up, and how you do your job.

Corticosteroid injections
This treatment is sometimes used when you still have pain after 6 to 8 weeks of rest and rehabilitation.   Steroids act by reducing inflammation of the bursa, tendon, or joint.

Ultrasound therapy
Ultrasound may help your tendon heal and stop pain. It is typically performed by an occupational or physical therapist as part of a rehabilitation program.

Anti-inflammatory medications
Medications that help reduce inflammation like ibuprofen may help with some elbow conditions.  Prior to starting any medication patient are advised to ask their regular physician.