Initially, elbow fractures will be treated with ice, pain medicine, a splint, and a sling to keep the elbow in position. Because not all fractures require surgery, treatment options will be discussed once the injury has been examined.
Elbow fracture surgery is usually necessary when the fracture is out of place (displaced) or when pieces of bone have cut the skin (open fracture.) Because the triceps muscles help straighten the elbow, it is important for the pieces to be put together when displaced so the patient can straighten his/her elbow. An open fracture, on the other hand, comes with a high risk of infection. Patients will undergo surgery so that the cuts can be thoroughly cleaned out. The bone will typically be fixed during the same procedure.
The surgeon will typically make an incision over the back of the elbow and then put the pieces of bone back together. There are several ways to hold the pieces of bone in place, including pins/wires, screws only, plates and screws, and sutures.
After surgery, the patient’s elbow may be splinted or casted for a short period of time. The patient may wear a sling if it provides comfort, and pain medications are usually provided. The stitches are usually removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. Moreover, the patient should not be lifting objects with the injured arms for at least six weeks. Motion exercises for the elbow and forearm should begin shortly after surgery.
Dr. Millstein is a board-certified elbow fracture expert with a proven track record. If you would like to schedule a consultation, please call (310) 595-1030 today!