Elbow joint replacement is usually recommended for patients with severe arthritis or traumatic injury that is causing chronic pain and limited range of motion. The goal of the procedure is to replace damaged bone and cartilage with an artificial implant made from metal, plastic, ceramic, or composite material to reduce pain and restore mobility in the affected arm.
Life after elbow joint replacement surgery can be a very rewarding experience. Many people who have had this type of surgery find that they are able to resume activities and enjoy life more than before the operation.
Below, we discuss what you can expect from elbow joint replacement surgery.
Recovery After an Elbow Replacement
Following elbow joint replacement surgery, you will recover in a hospital or surgery center until your doctor gives you clearance to go home. You will likely need help for several weeks during recovery due to limited movement. Elbow replacement patients need to keep their affected arm elevated to reduce discomfort, prevent swelling, and assist with healing. For the pain and to have a comfortable recovery, your doctor will prescribe pain medication.
During the first few weeks, you will focus on resting and healing. Your arm won’t be able to function normally, and you should avoid using it strenuously as the wounds heal. Generally, it can take about three months to make a complete recovery from an elbow replacement.
During this time, you will need to commit to a physical therapy rehabilitation program, which involves doing exercises designed specifically to help regain strength, flexibility, range of motion, and function in the arm. It can take up to six weeks before doctors give patients the green light to return to many of their normal activities.
It is important to take care when bearing weight on the affected arm and gripping and lifting objects heavier than a few pounds. Avoid the positions or motions that your doctor advises against, as they could lead to injuries and complications.
Life After an Elbow Joint Replacement
Once healed properly, most individuals who had an elbow replacement report significant improvement in their overall quality of life. They also report less pain and stiffness and have better mobility than prior to surgery. The improvement in symptoms allows them to go back to a physically active lifestyle and return to their sport or exercise without fear of experiencing excruciating symptoms afterward.
At the end of the day, an elbow replacement surgery can be life-changing for someone with severe limitations due to issues with their elbow. If you are interested in an elbow replacement, consult a highly experienced orthopedic surgeon – one who has performed the surgery numerous times.
Experienced Elbow Surgeons in St. Peters, O’Fallon, & Wentzville Missouri
At Advanced Bone & Joint, our orthopedic surgeons are highly experienced in elbow replacement surgery and can determine whether you are a good candidate for the procedure. We employ the latest surgical techniques for fewer risks, less pain, and faster recovery for our patients.