Mayo Clinic surgeons have experience with many different varieties of replacement joints (prostheses) for the elbow. In some cases, you may need a replacement of just one portion of the joint. For example, if only the head of one of your forearm bones (radius) is damaged, it can be replaced with an artificial head.
If the entire joint needs to be replaced, the ends of the bones that come together in the elbow will be removed. Bones are hard tubes that contain a soft center. The long, slender ends of the artificial joint are inserted into the softer central part of the bones.
There are two main types of prosthetic devices available: