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ELBOW JOINT CONTRACTURE

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Its etiology is considered to be multifactorial, including post-traumatic arthritis, heterotopic ossification, non-union or malunion with soft tissues around the elbow contracture. Regan and Reilly recognized three factors that may contribute to elbow contracture: 1) its complex anatomy, 2) the anterior brachial muscle that covers the anterior capsule leading to ossification and 3) sustained immobilization due to difficulties in achieving a stable osteosynthesis, especially in complex fractures.

Elbow stiffness is mainly determined by the degree of the joint injury. However, it is also influenced by periosteum loss and immobilization time. These causes may explain why major contractures are observed, despite obtaining adequate reduction and stability, or even in fractures without displacement. Other non-traumatic causes of stiffness are hemophilia, sequelae of infections, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. Among congenital causes, the arthrogryposis and congenital dislocation of the radial head are distinguished.

ELBOW ANATOMY

DISEASE EXPLAINED

SYMPTOMS

Stiffness of the elbow

Inability to fully extend or flex the arm

Usually no pain is associated with elbow contractures.

CAUSES

Causes and risk factors associated with elbow contracture, include:

Elbow trauma

Elbow surgery

Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis

Loose bodies

Osteophytes or bone spurs

Malunions of fractures

Joint infection

Burns

TREATMENT OPTIONS

TREATMENT OPTIONS

NONSURGICAL TREATMENT
Depending on your condition, we may recommend a nonsurgical therapy to restore your range of motion and relieve pain. Therapies can include changing daily activities, using elbow splints or physical therapy.

SURGICAL RELEASE PROCEDURE
During elbow release surgery our doctors remove scar tissue, abnormal bone growth and, if needed, other damaged tissue in your elbow.

We relieve pressure on the nerves and free them from surrounding scar tissue. And we use extra care to preserve your normal elbow ligaments.

Elbow contracture release surgery can be either open surgery or arthroscopic surgery.

Open surgery uses an incision near the elbow joint. Minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery uses tiny surgical tools and a camera and typically allows for faster healing.

CONTACTING DR. PERLMUTTER

Texting is preferred by Dr. Perlmutter for communication (717-836-6833). Please contact him ASAP, should you have any concerns whatsoever. Many patients fail to contact Dr. Perlmutter when they should have because they are "afraid of bothering him." This is a potentially dangerous attitude and Dr. Perlmutter will always welcome every opportunity to make his patients feel more comfortable. Please feel comfortable sending photographs to add perspective to your questions. Please turn on your flash, aim directly at the body part that you wish to show, and use an evenly colored, dark, and non-reflective background.

If you cannot text, you may call Dr. Perlmutter, however, you must use a confirmed caller ID unblocked telephone or he will not be able to return your call. If you need help turning off this feature you may:

1) Try pushing *82 prior to dialing, or

2) Use a different phone.

Your failure to do so will absolutely compromise your care and hurt your outcome!

If Dr. Perlmutter cannot be reached on his cell phone or by text, please contact the hospital operator to assist in reaching him or a member of his team. They can be reached at NASH: 252-962-8000. ECU Edgecombe: 252-641-7700.

IF YOU PERCEIVE AN EMERGENCY, PLEASE CALL 911 OR GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM ASAP.

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