Elbow Arthritis Surgery

Elbow Arthritis can cause pain and stiffness in the elbow which can often be managed non-operatively with activity modification, exercises and the use of pain medication.

Movement is more difficult to recover without surgery as there are often osteophytes (bone spurs) present that cause a mechanical block to movement. As the elbow gets stiffer, the soft tissues around the elbow (capsule) becomes thickened and tight, adding to the loss of movement.

Sometimes, the bone spurs can become chipped off, resulting in floating pieces within the elbow. If large enough, they can cause intermittent locking or jamming of the elbow which can be very painful.

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Elbow arthritis surgery can be performed to improve movement, pain and remove loose bodies. Depending on the severity, it may be possible to do the surgery through arthroscopic or keyhole methods.

Whether open or arthroscopic, the bone spurs and loose bodies are removed, and the soft tissues around the elbow are released to improve movement.

Elbow replacement is not an option for many patients because the replacements are not strong enough to take heavy forces and lifelong lifting restrictions need to be in place, to protect the replacement.

After surgery, it is important to complete the rehabilitation exercises given to you to ensure recovery of as much movement as possible.

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