What does the operation involve?
Your surgeon will make a cut on the back of your elbow joint and remove the damaged joint surfaces. They will then replace these with an artificial elbow joint made with metal, plastic, ceramic, or a combination of these materials (see figure 1). The elbow replacement is fixed into the bone using acrylic cement.
The operation usually takes between one and two hours. A variety of anaesthetic techniques is possible.
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home after two to five days.
You will need to use a support for the elbow for six weeks.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
An artificial elbow never feels quite the same as a normal elbow. It is unlikely that you will be able to fully straighten your elbow and an elbow replacement can wear out with time.
Most people make a good recovery, have less pain and can move their elbow better.