Elbow fracture surgery is used to realign the broken bones of the elbow, restore your ability to fully straighten the joint, and preserve elbow function.
If you need elbow fracture surgery in Southern California, the orthopedic surgeons at Dignity Health Southern California can help. In addition to board-certified surgeons, your care team may include other specialty doctors, nurses, and therapists. Use our online tool to Find a Doctor at a hospital near you.
When is Surgery Used for Elbow Fracture Treatment?
Your doctor may recommend elbow surgery for a fracture if:
- You have a compound or open fracture — the bones have broken through the skin
- You have issues with joint function after splinting or casting
- Your broken elbow hasn’t healed or an initial surgery didn’t help
Simple fractures — when the bone is barely out of place — often heal with casting or splinting. These types of fractures usually don't require surgery.
What to Expect During Elbow Surgery for Fractures
There are two basic types of elbow fracture surgery — closed reduction and open reduction.
Closed Reduction Elbow Fracture Surgery
During this procedure, an experienced surgeon will realign the broken bones and then insert pins through your skin to hold the bones in place.You’ll wear a splint for about a week, and then a cast. After several weeks, the cast and pins will be removed. Closed reductions often only require local anesthesia to numb your arm.
Open Reduction Elbow Fracture Surgery
Unlike closed reduction, open reduction surgery involves the realignment of the broken elbow bones through an incision. Your surgeon will then place plates, screws, or pins inside the skin. You will have general anesthesia for an open reduction.
Recovering from Elbow Fracture Surgery at Dignity Health Southern California
For the first six to 12 weeks of recovery after elbow fracture surgery, you will need to do strengthening and range-of-motion exercises — these exercises are vital to your recovery. You also need to avoid lifting heavy objects during your recovery.
Most people return to normal activities within a few months. Full healing and recovery can take a year or more, but physical therapy from our highly trained experts may help speed the process.
Dignity Health provides state-of-the-art elbow fracture surgery in Southern California.