The elbow is a hinge joint which is made up of three bones, humerus (upper arm bone), ulna (forearm bone on the little finger side) & radius (forearm bone on the thumb side).The surfaces of the bones where they meet to form the elbow joint are covered with articular cartilage, a smooth substance that protects the bones and enables them to move easily. A thin, smooth tissue called synovial membrane covers all remaining surfaces inside the elbow joint. In a healthy elbow, this membrane makes a small amount of fluid that lubricates the cartilage and eliminates almost any friction as you bend and rotate your arm.Muscles, ligaments, and tendons hold the elbow joint together.
The elbow joint
consists of two types of joints called the ulnohumeral joint and the radioulnar joint. The ends of the humerus and ulna form a hinge that allows flexion and extension and the radius and ulna allow rotation or pivoting of the forearm. The elbow provides the arm with flexion and rotation. Flexion allows us to bend our elbows (such as scratching our nose and feeding ourselves) and rotation allows us place our palm up to receive objects, or down to perform tasks like writing.
Indications for Surgery
The indications for total elbow arthroplasty include severe pain, loss of motion, deformity, instability or destruction of the elbow joint. Indicated in following conditions:-
Chronic inflammatory arthropathies.
Acute distal humerus fractures.
Distal humerus Nonunions.
Extreme intrinsic stiffness/ankylosis.
Large posttraumatic bone defects.
Primary osteoarthritis (rare).
Reconstruction after tumor resection.
Details of the surgery
Total elbow replacement surgery, the damaged parts of the humerus and ulna are replaced with artificial components. The artificial elbow joint is made up of a metal and plastic hinge with two metal stems. The stems fit inside the hollow part of the bone called the canal.
Possible benefits of elbow replacement surgery
Elbow joint replacement arthroplasty offers the opportunity for people to regain much of the lost comfort and function in an arthritic elbow. It also can restore smooth, stabilizing joint surfaces when these surfaces have been damaged by arthritis. The effectiveness of the procedure depends on the health and motivation of the patient, the condition of the elbow, and the expertise of the surgeon. When performed by an experienced surgeon, total elbow replacement arthroplasty usually leads to improved elbow comfort and In function. The greatest improvements are in the ability of the patient to sleep and to perform activities of daily living.