What does the operation involve?
Individual practice will vary. Your surgeon will be able to explain what will happen toyou. In most cases surgery isperformed under a general anaesthetic, which means that you will be asleep forthe operation. In many cases theanaesthetic doctor will also recommend an arm block, an injection around theshoulder to temporarily prevent the nerves in the arm from carrying painsignals to the brain. The aim ofthis bock is to lessen the post-operative pain in the elbow but it will alsohave the effect of temporarily paralysing the arm on the day of the surgery.
Your surgeon will usually make a cut on the back of theelbow to remove the damaged elbow and implant an elbow hemiarthroplasty. After the surgery you will have abandage on the elbow and you may also have a splint to rest the elbow. Most surgeons will aim to move theelbow as soon as possible after the surgery to reduce stiffness. Resting splints may be used for severalweeks, especially at night. Physiotherapy is recommended after this type of surgery.
You can expect to stay in hospital for between two and fivedays.
What is the aim of this operation?
The aim of elbow replacement surgery is to give you a painfree, mobile elbow that enables you to perform normal everyday activities. It is recommended that after thissurgery the arm is not used to carry heavy objects or for heavy manualactivities as these may lead to early failure of the replacement.