Total Elbow Arthroplasty

J Hand Surg Am. 2019 Jun;44(6):487-495. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2018.11.005. Epub 2019 Jan 8.


Total elbow arthroplasty design has evolved in recent decades. Indications for total elbow arthroplasty include advanced rheumatoid arthritis to osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, adverse sequelae of trauma, and unreconstructable acute fractures. This article summarizes the current evidence for total elbow arthroplasty, including the history of total elbow arthroplasty, an overview of the recent trends and designs, and current evidence-based outcomes. Outcomes are assessed for specific indications, namely rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, acute trauma, and younger patients. Complication rates, reoperation rates, and survivorship of modern prostheses are discussed. Technical pearls and pitfalls are discussed for primary and revision cases.

Keywords: Total elbow arthroplasty; distal humerus fracture; elbow arthritis; post-traumatic arthritis; revision total elbow arthroplasty; rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Arthritis / surgery
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Elbow*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Elbow Injuries
  • Elbow Joint / surgery
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery
  • Humans
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Patient Selection
  • Periprosthetic Fractures / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Risk Factors