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Information for Patients & Caregivers

Elbow Replacement

What is an elbow replacement?

The bottom of the upper arm bone (humerus) and the top of the two bones of the forearm (ulna and radius) are removed to make room for the elbow joint replacement.  The bone is replaced with metal and plastic components that mimic the original bone in size and shape. These components are attached to metal rods, which are inserted into the humerus and ulna bones to secure them into place. Sometimes a special bone cement is used.  This results in a new metal and plastic joint that can move smoothly again so it does not hurt when you move your arm.  The parts of a replacement are often called prostheses, components, or implants.

healthy elbow                              arthritic elbow
              A Healthy Elbow                                                          An Arthritic Elbow

How long and where will the scar be?

The scar is positioned along the back of the elbow. It is normally about 20cm in length.

The Operation

This usually takes between 1 to 2 hours depending on the method of surgery.  Generally the patient will stay in hospital for 4-5 nights although this depends on a range of factors and your surgeon will advise you.