Of all the parts of the radius, the smaller bone in the lower arm, the radial head is the most susceptible to fracture than the rest of the elbow joint. There have been many methods developed to relieve pain and stiffness because of radial head fractures.
If the elbow trauma is too complex for traditional treatments, such as the use of a splint and sling, then Radial Head Replacement may be the best course of action. Sometimes called Radial Head Arthroplasty, this removes the damaged radial head and replaces it with a piece shaped to fit the joint. The prosthesis may be made of polyethylene or metal, and it is shaped to slide into the end of the radius and serve as part of the elbow joint.
Patients with just bone fragments or damaged tissue may undergo arthroscopic surgery to remove them, which is minimally invasive. However, radial head arthroplasty requires an open surgery so the joint can be seen well and the prosthetic can be attached firmly.
Initial recovery from the surgery is about two weeks, during which the elbow is immobilized in a splint or sling. After that, the patient undergoes physical therapy to regain function in the elbow. There may be a slight amount of loss of motion in a repaired elbow. Full recovery can take 3-6 months.
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