According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the development of internal fixation for elbow fractures ranks among the most significant advances in medical treatment during the 20th century. That’s because this type of surgery offers several significant benefits, including:
- Earlier return to normal function
- Reduced number of complications, such as improper healing, infection, and allergic reaction
Immediate care for all suspected elbow fractures includes:
- Thorough neurovascular examination
- Adequate immobilization
- Assessment of whether the injury requires admission to the hospital
- Immediate or urgent referral for orthopaedic evaluation
Do you have questions about broken elbow surgery? Don’t hesitate to contact Beverly Hills orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Sonu Ahluwalia today at 310.430.1310.
Elbow Fracture Types
The bones of the elbow can break in a variety of ways. Because of this there are several different types of possible elbow fractures. These include:
- Nondisplaced — The bone breaks completely, but the ends stay lined up.
- Displaced — The pieces of the broken bone do not line up.
- Greenstick — An incomplete fracture in which the bone is bent. This type occurs most often in children.
- Linear — a horizontal fracture of the bone.
- Transverse — A fracture at a right angle to the bone’s axis.
- Comminuted — A fracture in which the bone breaks into several pieces.
Elbow Fracture Causes
There are several different ways you can fracture your elbow. The type of fracture often correlates to the cause of the elbow trauma. Elbow fractures usually result from:
- Falling on an outstretched hand
- Falling on the elbow
- Forcing the elbow joint to move in an unnatural way
- Blunt trauma to the elbow
- Motor Vehicle Accident
Elbow Fracture Signs and Symptoms
If you suffer an elbow injury and have any of the following symptoms, immediate medical treatment may be necessary:
- Bruising or discoloration of the skin
- Limited Range of Motion
- Numbness or loss of sensation in the arm, hand, or fingers
Broken Elbow Surgery
Broken elbow surgery, also known as elbow fracture fixation, will begin with the administration of either general or regional anesthesia. Dr. Ahluwalia will have assessed the severity and nature of the fracture and devised a surgical plan to repair the fractured elbow. He will begin the procedure by making an incision along the back of the elbow to access the underlying fractured bone. He will then repair the bone, placing it back into its normal anatomical alignment. The repaired bone will be held in the correct position through the use of internal fixation with wires, pins, plates, and/or screws. The incision(s) will be closed with sutures or staples, and a cast or splint may be applied to hold the arm in place.
Recovery from Broken Elbow Surgery in Beverly Hills
Once the fractured elbow has been placed back together in the normal position, your recovery and rehabilitation will begin. You will be monitored in a surgical recovery room until the effects of the anesthesia have worn off. Dr. Ahluwalia will create an individualized recovery plan to help you regain normal strength and functioning of your repaired elbow. This will begin with medication to manage pain and prevent infection.
Rest will be important in the days following the procedure, but it will also be important to move around as much as you can. Physical therapy will be needed to regain normal range of motion and strength in the elbow joint. A follow up appointment will be scheduled to assess your recovery and answer any questions you have in regards to activity limitations.
Following broken elbow surgery the long-term outcome usually results in a functional elbow. However, some degree of stiffness after an elbow fracture is expected. You will most likely require some physical therapy to facilitate your rehabilitation. Following all instructions given to you by Dr. Ahluwalia and his staff will minimize any potential complications and maximize your recovery.