M25 — June 2012 — Elbow Replacement
Intro: How many times a day do you reach out to grab something? Things like the steering wheel, a glass of water, or the handle of a grocery cart. The answer is lots. But for people who have damaged elbow joints from issues such as rheumatoid arthritis, simple tasks can be painful and difficult. Vivien Williams explains how elbow replacements are a surgical option that can get rid of the pain and give back the ability to do many everyday tasks.
"Almost everything you do, you use your elbow you don't even realize it."
Barb Rockenbach [Rock'-en-bock] says she didn't realize that until her right elbow became damaged from rheumatoid arthritis. She was in a lot of pain and everyday tasks like grocery shopping were difficult.
"I could never pick up something heavy."
She couldn't extend her arm, so she'd only use her left one.
"Or if I had this hand full I might go over like this and do it."
Barb lived with the pain for as long as she could, but eventually it got much worse.
"How are things today?"
Barb went to Mayo Clinic where orthopedic surgeon Dr. Scott Steinmann [Styne'-man] told her she would likely benefit from an elbow replacement.
"When we replace the joint, we give very good pain relief for the joint, and motion is actually very good after the replacement."
During the operation, Dr. Steinmann removes the damaged and diseased joint. Then he replaces those bones with two metal implants that act as a new elbow joint.
"It looks great."
Dr. Steinmann replaced Barb's elbow several months ago.
"I have no pain in the elbow."
Dr. Steinmann says elbow replacements give people like Barb the ability to do simple tasks, like grabbing a carton of milk from the fridge. But replacements will not allow her to lift weights or do sports like tennis. But Barb is thrilled to be pain free and able to use her arm.
"Now I can hold it up and put it in."
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
After surgery patients, start to move their new elbow joint within days. It takes about three months for them to heal completely.
Dr. Steinmann says elbow replacements are generally used for people with damaged joints from rheumatoid arthritis, or for those with traumatic injury. And again, elbow replacements can give back the ability to do everyday tasks. They cannot give back one's ability to lift weights or play certain sports.
For more information, visit our website at…
STATIONS: Per the licensing agreement, please provide a link from your station's website to http://www.MayoClinic.org or voice tag "MayoClinic.org" for more information.