Elbow Joint Contracture
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.
Stiffness of the elbow
Inability to fully extend or flex the arm
Usually no pain is associated with elbow contractures.
Causes and risk factors associated with elbow contracture, include:
Osteophytes or bone spurs
Malunions of fractures
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.
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IF YOU PERCEIVE AN EMERGENCY, PLEASE CALL 911 OR GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM ASAP.
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