Elbow Replacement

When do you need a replacement?

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This disease causes the membrane around the elbow joint to thicken and become inflamed, ultimately causing severe cartilage loss.
  • Osteoarthritis: Usually occurring in those over 50years of age, this joint disease causes the cartilage that acts as a cushion for the joint to wear away. The bones then rub against each other causing stiffness and pain.
Elbow Replacement Elbow Replacement
  • Post-traumatic arthritis: Following a serious elbow injury the surrounding tendons and ligaments may cause damage to the articular cartilage.
  • Severe fractures: A severe intra-articular distal humerus fracture


An elbow replacement consists of two metal stems that fit inside the humerus and ulna and are connected by a hinge. Patients will need to stay in the hospital 1-3 days after surgery. Physical therapy will begin 10-14 days post-operation.

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Treatment of complications following replacements

Various complications from elbow replacements require treatment:

Treatment of complications following replacements
  • Loosening of components
  • Wear of components
  • Infection: Open surgery will be used to determine the level of infectionand if it can be treated with antibiotics. If the infection is severe the replacement will be removed and a temporary antibiotic spacer will be placed in the elbow to clear out the infection. After around 3 monthsthe spacer will be surgically taken out and a new, clean elbow replacement will be put in.
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Website
  • Arthroscopy Association of North America Website
  • muschealth Website
  • American Shoulder & Elbow Surgeons Website
  • Charleston RiverDogs Website