Barb Rockenbach: Almost everything you do, you use your elbow. You don't even realize it.

Vivian Williams: Barb Rockenbach 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.

Barb Rockenbach: I could never pick up something heavy.

Vivian Williams: She couldn't extend her arm, so she'd only use her left one.

Barb Rockenbach: If I had this hand full, I may go over like this and do it.

Vivian Williams: Barb lived with the pain for as long as she could, but eventually it got much worse.

Scott P. Steinmann, M.D.: How are things?

Barb Rockenbach: Doing good.

Vivian Williams: Barb went to Mayo Clinic where Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Scott Steinmann told her she'd likely benefit from an elbow replacement.

Scott P. Steinmann, M.D.: When we replace the joint, we give very good pain relief for the joint. And motion's actually very good after the replacement.

Vivian Williams: 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.

Scott P. Steinmann, M.D.: Yeah, that looks good.

Vivian Williams: Dr. Steinmann replaced Barb's elbow several months ago.

Barb Rockenbach: I have no pain in the elbow.

Vivian Williams: Dr. Steinmann says the elbow replacements give people like Barb the ability to do simple tasks, like grabbing a jug of milk from the fridge. But replacements will not allow her to lift weights or do sports like tennis. Barb is thrilled to be pain-free and able to use her arm.

Barb Rockenbach: But now I can hold it up and put it in.

Vivian Williams: For Medical Edge, I'm Vivian Williams.

Jan. 02, 2014