Orthopaedic Surgery » Patient Care » About Elbow Joint Replacement

About Elbow Joint Replacement

Joint replacement surgery is typically recommended to patients who have tried non-surgical treatment but still have joint pain. Modern total elbow arthroplasty (TEA) was developed in the 1980s.

Drawing of a man made elbow joint. Source: Coonrad-Morrey Total Elbow / Zimmer

TEA is now a standard treatment for a variety of degenerative and rheumatic conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. It removes all or part of a damaged joint and replaces it with synthetic components.

Joint replacement, as a whole, is one of the most reliable and durable procedures in any area of in any area of medicine.

A follow-up study 10 to 15 years after The Zimmer Coonrad-Morrey total elbow replacement in patients with rheumatoid arthritis found:

  • 92% of implants were still in place
  • 86% of patients had either a good or excellent clinical result
  • 14% post-operative complication rate

After most joint replacement surgeries, patients must limit or eliminate high-impact and and joint-overloading activities.

The elbow is a complex joint that is different from a simple hinge. As a result, the total elbow replacement is designed with 7 degrees of 'play' in the joint to more closely approximate the motion of a native elbow.

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