Elbow Arthritis Surgery

Several surgical options are available for treating elbow arthritis, dependent on the severity of the condition and the patient’s personal health.

  1. Arthroscopy: This minimally invasive procedure involves the surgeon making small incisions around the elbow joint, and using a tiny camera to guide their work. Loose fragments of bone or cartilage are removed, and the joint surfaces are cleaned. This can alleviate pain and improve joint movement.
  2. Synovectomy: In this procedure, the surgeon removes the inflamed synovial membrane of the elbow joint. This can reduce pain and swelling.
  3. Osteotomy: This involves the surgical cutting of bone to correct joint misalignment and distribute weight more evenly across the joint, potentially easing arthritis symptoms.
  4. Total Elbow Replacement: In severe cases, the entire elbow joint can be replaced with a prosthesis.

Expected Surgery Outcome

The goal of these surgeries is to alleviate pain, restore function, and improve quality of life. Most individuals will experience significant pain relief and improved range of motion in the elbow. However, the exact outcomes can vary depending on the specific procedure and individual health factors.

Potential surgery complications and risks

As with any surgery, there are risks of complications. Common ones include infection, nerve injury, blood clot formation, and continued joint stiffness. Instability of the elbow joint and the need for additional surgery are rarer, but potential complications.


  • Infection: All surgical procedures carry a risk of infection.
  • Nerve Injury: The nerves around the elbow may be damaged during surgery.
  • Blood Clots: Surgery can increase the risk of blood clots, particularly in the upper extremities.
  • Persistent Stiffness: Despite surgery, some patients may continue to experience stiffness in the elbow.
  • Instability: The elbow joint may become unstable post-surgery.

Recovery after surgery

Following surgery, patients will likely need pain management treatments, physiotherapy to regain strength and range of motion, and possibly the use of a splint or brace. Regular follow-ups will be necessary to monitor healing. Recovery time varies greatly, but most patients can expect to see full recovery between 3 months and one year post-operation.