Do I need an Elbow Replacement?
The elbow has a remarkable ability to tolerate a significant amount of arthritis. Much of this is because the elbow joint is essentially a hinge type joint and moves in a single plane of motion. However, patients with endstage arthritis of the elbow can experience significant pain and loss of motion in the elbow. This can make it difficult to perform activities of daily living. Simple tasks including feeding themselves or washing their hair can be painful and challenging.
Moderate arthritis can typically respond to more minimal interventions such as arthroscopic elbow surgery or injections. However, when end-stage arthritis of the elbow gets to the point where it limits your day to day function and is a constant source of pain, elbow replacement surgery can be a good option for many. Elbow replacement surgery is good procedure for improving motion and relieving the pain associated with arthritis. For heavy laborers, however, an elbow replacement is not durable enough to withstand heavy lifting or repetitive manual labor. But for those willing to accept some lifting restrictions on their arm, an elbow replacement can give lasting relief from their pain and stiffness.
The threshold for when to consider surgery is different for everyone. If your elbow arthritis is interfering with your life, it may be time to have it evaluated to see if you would be a good candidate for a replacement.