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Healing From Elbow Fracture Repair Surgery: What to Expect

It's not just sports like tennis, golf, and baseball that can put stress on your elbow joints. Repetitive everyday stresses can severely damage your elbow, leading to painful fracturing of the joint. When you need surgery for your fractured elbow, what should you expect during your healing process, and when can you get back in the game?

The experienced and knowledgeable team at Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, under the leadership of David B. Dickerson, MD, provides excellent care to support patients with elbow injuries. When you need surgery to repair an elbow fracture, we're with you through the entire arc of your healing journey, all the way through to a full recovery.

Complex fractures in your elbow

Your elbow joins three bones. The two bones in your forearms, the ulna and radius, connect to the bone of your upper arm, the humerus. All three can be vulnerable to fractures. You can fracture your elbow in several different ways:

If you fracture your elbow, you'll probably feel it pretty quickly. Fractured elbows come with intense pain, swelling, and issues with mobility and stability.

If we can't treat your fracture conservatively with immobilization, you need surgical treatment so the joint heals properly. With minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery, we can stabilize your bones with metal plates and pins. We can even completely replace your elbow joint, if needed, to relieve your pain and restore functionality.

What to expect during recovery

Following your procedure, you may be able to return home on the same day, and you can expect to resume gentle movement fairly soon to prevent stiffness. We use an X-ray to confirm that your elbow surgery was a success, and we send you home with medication to address your initial pain and instructions about icing to reduce swelling and discomfort.

It's possible to see initial fluid drainage from the area around your incision. You should get in touch if you see troubling symptoms of infection like pus or fever. We may schedule a follow-up appointment about a week after your surgery if you need staples or stitches removed. 

Your arm may need to be immobilized in a splint for several weeks following your elbow surgery. We’ll tell you how often and how much you can move your elbow and arm. Take it slow at first to avoid aggravating your surgical site.

Within a few months, you should be able to return to most of your full range of activities. Dr. Dickerson often recommends physical therapy following surgery to restore and strengthen your arm muscles and speed your recovery time.

If you need surgery for an elbow fracture, contact Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine of Shrewsbury, Toms River, and Wall Township, New Jersey. Call the location most convenient to you to book your initial consultation.

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