Elbow Joint Dislocation Surgery


If you have a dislocated elbow you are likely experiencing severe pain, swelling, and can’t bend your arm. This injury may be associated with a recent fall onto an outstretched hand or a car accident. The bones in your elbow may be out of place. Medically this means that your forearm bones (radius and ulna) are out of place compared to the upper arm bone (humerus). When this happens, likely, the ligaments, which are connected to the bone to support bone placement, and tissues may have become damaged. Elbow joint dislocation surgery can place your bones in their correct place and allow doctors to correct the damaged ligaments.

How to Prepare for Elbow Joint Dislocation Surgery

Refrain from eating or drinking 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.


This is an outpatient surgery which means you will be able to return home the same day as surgery. To restore your bone alignment and repair ligaments, surgery is necessary. We may suggest surgery if you have fractures or damage to the ligaments which won’t heal on their own. There are two options of surgery:

  • Arthroscopy. This is a minimally invasive surgery that uses several small incisions, a small camera, and small equipment. We will go in and repair the ligaments and bones. Then we will close the smaller incisions with stitches.
  • Open Surgery. We may suggest this surgical option if you have any broken bones in addition to your dislocation. You may need metal plates and screws to stabilize and repair the joint; thus requiring a larger incision.


After surgery, you may go home with an external hinge. This hinge ensures the elbow won’t dislocate again as you recover. You will also go home in a sling for the first one to two weeks to assist in your elbow healing. We may provide exercises to do early in your recovery.


Your damaged ligaments that held your joint together have been restored and the joint is placed in the proper location.


Increased risk of arthritis in the elbow joint if there’s a misalignment of bones or if the elbow continues to dislocate. There is a risk of infection, blood loss, and nerve damage as with any surgery.


Surgery will likely correct the problem with the ligaments and bone to restore pain-free movement of your arm.