Surgery to Repair Broken Bones of the Elbow

Your Diagnosis

Surgery to repair the broken bones of the elbow is done to help align the bones properly so they heal in a good position. If surgery is not performed, usually the body is able to heal the broken bones- however they will heal out of alignment, which will decrease the person’s chance of having good range-of-motion and good function. Another term for repairing the broken bones is an “open reduction and internal fixation”, or ORIF. See Broken Bones of the Elbow section. 

What happens During Surgery?

Surgery typically takes between 30 and 45 minutes It is done with general anesthesia meaning the person is asleep. Sometimes the patient will be given a nerve block in their neck which makes their shoulder and arm numb for 6 to 48 hours. 

Immediately after Surgery

The person will wake from surgery in the recovery room where they will spend 1 to 3 hours.  Most people will then be allowed to go home when they are awake enough. The person will go home in a sling. The person cannot drive or take public transportation home. They must have a ride. Some people will be kept in the hospital for pain control.

A person may have questions following your surgery. Many of these frequently asked questions surgery questions can be answered here. 

Therapy after Surgery

After surgery to repair the broken bones of the elbow, the person will usually be given some restrictions.  It is common for a person to be given Triceps Precautions after elbow surgery. Typically after about a week, the person will begin therapy, to work on passive range of motion, and active range of motion. The person will be taught how to work on Elbow Stretching