After Care and Therapy
Total Elbow Replacement
Total Elbow Replacement is an artificial joint replacement for severe arthritis affecting the elbow joint. Most of the patients have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) but sometimes Osteoarthritis (OA) can also cause severe pain and disability in the elbow. The operation is done for pain relief and to improve function.
The operation is done under General Anaesthesia and you will require one or two night stay in the hospital. You are likely to require some pain killers for few days.
0 – 2 Weeks
Your elbow will be bandaged and the arm will be in a sling. You can gently start bending (flex) and straightening (extend) your elbow as far as you comfortably can. Before discharge you bandage will be reduced to allow you to exercise the elbow with ease. Only gentle movements are allowed at this stage within the sling.
An x-ray will be carried out and once the swelling and pain are under control you will be discharge. You must keep your arm in the sling.
2 – 6 Weeks
You will be seen to Physiotherapy to exercise your elbow. Active and active assisted exercises are carried out but stretching should only start after 3 weeks. It is important to work on rotation of the forearm as well as elbow movements. Your first clinic appointment will be in 2 weeks for removal of stitches and general check.
You should continue using the sling in between exercise sessions for 4 weeks.
6 – 12 Weeks
Resisted exercise and some strengthening can commence at 6 weeks. Passive stretching and active exercises are continued. With continuing mobilisation your elbow will continue to strengthen for the next 6 months. Your next clinic appointment will be in 3 months from operation for a check and x-ray of the elbow. It is usual to be seen yearly thereafter.