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Evolution of Arthroplasty

Treatment for elbow arthritis include both non-surgical and surgical options and depends on the severity of the arthritis. Mild arthritis is treated with non-operative techniques, such as physical therapy, oral anti-inflammatory medications, or even steroid injections. If these measures fail, surgery can be done either arthroscopically or open to clean out the elbow joint to remove bone spurs and any degenerative cartilage. For more severe forms of arthritis, total elbow arthroplasty is a great option.

Total elbow arthroplasty is where the damaged or diseased parts of the elbow, specifically the humerus and ulna, are replaced with artificial components. To reach the elbow joint, the surgeon makes an incision usually at the back elbow and then moves the muscles aside to get access to the bone. Scar tissues and bone spurs get removed and then the ends of the humerus and ulna are prepared so that the artificial components can be placed onto them. The components usually have stems attached that are inserted into the bone and kept in place with bone cement. The new artificial elbow joint is made up of a metal and plastic hinge.

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