Elbow Arthroplasty: A Concise Literature Update



1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, La Paz University Hospital, Madrid, Spain

2 Rothman Orthopedics Florida at AdventHealth, Orlando, FL, USA

3 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA


Total elbow arthroplasty (TEA) is increasingly used, especially in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) 
and distal humerus fractures (DHFs). This narrative review of the recent literature published in 2022 
reached the following conclusions: 1) Age greater than 80 is not a contraindication for TEA. 2) The 
estimated 10-year survival reported for linked TEAs is 92%, and unlinked TEAs 84%. 3) For DHFs in 
the elderly, regarding the flexion/extension arc, TEA gives substantially better results than open 
reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). The reoperation and elbow stiffness rates are substantial ly lower 
in TEA than in ORIF. 4) Comparing distal humeral hemiarthroplasty (DHH) vs. TEA in individuals over 
65 years with a non-reconstructable DHF favors DHH regarding the range of motion but with a similarly 
high rate of adverse events in the two surgical techniques. 5) The rate of eradication of periprosthetic 
joint infection (PJI) is 69-76% with two-stage, 71% with resection arthroplasty, 67% with one-stage, 
58% with DAIR, and 40% with elbow arthrodesis.
 Level of evidence: III


Main Subjects

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MS. Comparison of 90-day complication rates and 
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Pauzenberger L. Long-term outcomes of total elbow 
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3. Seok HG, Park JJ, Park SG. Comparison of the complications, 
reoperations, and clinical outcomes between open reduction 
and internal fixation and total elbow arthroplasty for distal 
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