Prosthetic total elbow arthroplasty (TEA) is a recognised treatment for the painful arthritic elbow. is a challenging procedure for orthopedic surgeons. For elderly patients with deformity and ankylosis of the elbow due to posttraumatic arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis or comminuted fracture distal humerus, arthroplasty is one of the option. The clinical outcome and long-term survivorship differs from implant to implant, and the results obtained with a given linked or unlinked implant cannot be extrapolated to other members of the same implant family.
Materials and Methods: 13 cases of total elbow arthroplasty were included in this study, between June 2010 and October 2013. The indications for total elbow arthroplasty in this study were rheumatoid arthritis, comminuted fracture distal humerus with intraarticular extension, and posttraumatic bony ankylosis of elbow joint. Patients with compound fracture around the elbow joint, severely comminuted fracture proximal ulna, flaccid paralysis of the upper limb, non-restorable function of biceps or triceps and patients with high demanding jobs have been excluded from the study.
Results: The average operative time was 86.2 minutes (range 64 to 108 minutes). The follow up was from 4 months to 110 months (mean 71 months). The evaluation of the patients was based on clinical as well as on radiological parameters. Pre-operatively four patients had stable elbows as they had ankylosis in non-functional position between 80 to 90° due to rheumatoid arthritis or traumatic arthritis and also stable by virtue of bony fusion. Remaining nine patients had unstable elbows because of fracture distal humerus. Clinico‑radiologically all the elbows were stable.
Conclusion: To conclude, a semi constrained total elbow arthroplasty is a predictable and effective method for decreasing pain and restoring function in elderly patients with chronic elbow dislocation or fracture dislocation. The rapid functional improvement provided by this procedure allows patients to return to activities of daily living early.