Elbow Replacement Surgery Recovery – Dos And Don’ts!
Elbow replacement surgery is done if you have shattered your elbow joint or the joint has become irreparably damaged as a result of aging (osteoarthritis) or disease (rheumatoid arthritis). If the cartilage wears down, bone rubs against bone making any movement excruciatingly painful. During elbow replacement surgery, plates and screws are used to hold the parts of the artificial joint in place. If the patient also has osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones, it is more difficult to attach the artificial joint. The decision to have elbow replacement surgery should be made after you have plenty of information and have had a serious discussion with your doctor.
Here are some things you can do to make your recovery from surgery go smoother. Before surgery, you should meet with your physical therapist. The therapist will evaluate what you can do now and your level of pain as well as establishing a baseline. You will begin to learn the exercises that will later help with your recovery. The therapist can help you prepare for any problems you might encounter after surgery. After surgery you should keep your elbow elevated higher than your heart for several days. Prop the elbow up on pillows when sitting or sleeping. This prevents throbbing and swelling. Take pain medication as directed. You should keep in mind that recovery from elbow replacement surgery can take up to three months. See your physical therapist as scheduled and do only the prescribed exercises.
Don’t try to do too much at once. Initially, the physical therapist will treat you for swelling and pain from the surgery. Gradually, exercises will be added to strengthen and stabilize the joint. If you try to speed up the recovery process by pushing yourself, you could end up causing more damage. In this case, slow and steady wins the race.
In order to find the best orthopedic surgeons, you may want to ask friends and acquaintances about doctors they have used. Also check out their credentials and record of complaints. Keep in mind that not all elbow problems require joint replacement. Depending on the condition, you may need golfers elbow surgery or tennis elbow surgery, but not a total replacement. Bursitis elbow may simply require rest or draining of fluid. Before opting for surgery, you might want to get a second opinion.