Discharge Instructions for Total Elbow Replacement
Discharge Instructions for Total Elbow
You had a procedure called total elbow
replacement. Artificial elbow parts replace the surfaces of your damaged elbow. The
artificial elbow has 2 parts. One part fits into your humerus (upper arm). The other
fits into your ulna (forearm). The resulting hinge allows your elbow to bend. Here’s
you need to know about home care after surgery.
Don’t use your affected arm
to get out of bed or up from a chair. Use the other arm instead.
Don't lift anything with your
affected arm after surgery until your doctor says it's OK. You won't be able to
place any weight or resistance on your affected elbow for several weeks.
Don't play contact sports
such as basketball or football.
Don't do activities such as
hammering, heavy or repetitive lifting, or activities that put too much strain on
your elbow. Don't sweep, mop, or run the vacuum cleaner using your affected arm.
Ask your doctor when you may resume these activities.
Do the exercises that you
learned in the hospital, as instructed by your doctor.
Take your pain medicine
exactly as directed.
Don’t be alarmed by some
swelling around the incision. This is normal. Wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid
pressure on the incision.
Use an ice pack or bag of
frozen peas—or something similar—wrapped in a thin towel to reduce the swelling.
Apply the ice pack for
20 minutes; then remove it for
Repeat as needed.
Follow your doctor’s
instructions about wearing and caring for a splint, sling, or dressing.
Shower as needed. Cover your
elbow with plastic to keep it dry.
Don’t sleep on the side of
Prevent infection by washing
your hands often. If an infection occurs, you will need immediate treatment. So
call your doctor right away if you think you have an infection. Symptoms of
infection include a fever, chills, increase redness at the incision site, or a
wound that leaks white, green, or yellow fluid. You may also have a bad smell
from the wound.
If you received an artificial
joint, tell all your healthcare providers—including your dentist—about the joint.
You may need to take antibiotics before certain procedures, including dental work,
to reduce the risk for infection.
Follow up with your healthcare
provider, or as advised.
911 right away if you have any of
When to call your healthcare provider
Call your healthcare provider right
away if you have any of these:
38°C) or higher, or as
directed by your healthcare provider
tenderness, or swelling of the wound
Drainage from the incision or
a bad smell
Opening of the incision
Online Medical Reviewer: Thomas N Joseph MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Kenny Turley PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed:
© 2000-2019 StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.