Elbow Fracture Surgery

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Elbow Fracture Surgery

Overview

If you have an elbow fracture you likely experience a significant amount of pain when you move your elbow. Depending on the severity of your fracture you may have already tried wearing a splint however, your fracture may require elbow fracture surgery.

How to Prepare for Elbow Fracture Surgery

You will be asked not to eat or drink after midnight the night before your surgery. Stop taking any medications like blood thinners or aspirins to prepare for your surgery. You may want to get your home ready since you won’t be able to reach very high cabinets or do activities that may require you to pull. Locate loose shirts that button or zip in the front for you to wear as you recover from surgery.

Procedure  

There are three surgical procedures that we may use to repair your elbow fracture:

  1. Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF). During this surgery, we will reposition the bones in their normal position and then secure them using medical equipment like screws, wires, pins, or metal plates.
  2. Bone Graft. During this surgery, we may need a piece of another bone to support your elbow.
  3. Fracture Fragment Removal. Finally, the last type of surgery is the removal of the fracture fragment surgery. During this surgery, we may remove the broken bone if it’s too small to repair. Then we will reattach your triceps tendon to the remaining bone.  If the bone broke into smaller pieces that can’t be repaired, it may be suggested to remove them out of caution. During this procedure, the tendon will be attached to the remaining bone (ulna).

Recovery 

You will be placed in a splint for one to two weeks after surgery. You will begin a physical therapy program after your surgery to improve the motion of your elbow and forearm. Exercises are vital to regaining the use of your elbow and forearm. You can expect a full recovery after four months. You shouldn’t push, pull, or lift heavy items before you have clearance from us.

Efficacy

We can stabilize all the bone fragments in your elbow. This will allow you to use your elbow pain-free after physical therapy. Sometimes patients may experience issues with the medical equipment used during surgery and require additional surgery.

Complications

Patients may experience irritation from the metal medical equipment. Sometimes the fracture may not heal and will pull apart or the medical equipment may shift or break. In some cases, patients may never regain full motion and some patients may experience posttraumatic arthritis.

Outlook

Surgery will likely correct the fractures in your elbow.