Joint Replacement of the Upper Extremity


You don’t have to live in pain. If you have joint pain in your shoulder, elbow, or wrist and nonsurgical remedies haven’t helped relieve your symptoms, a joint replacement may help you resume normal activities and regain range of motion. Orthopedic surgeon Mark A. Yaffe, MD, specializes in upper extremity surgery. If you want to live pain-free, call Barrington Orthopedic Specialists today for a consultation with Dr. Yaffe.


What is joint replacement surgery?

A joint is where the ends of two or more bones meet. Cartilage acts as a lining covering the bones, allowing them to move and glide easily. As you get older, cartilage wears out or becomes damaged, making joints stiff and painful.

Joint replacement surgery removes damaged or diseased parts of a joint and replaces them with new parts made of metal, plastic, or ceramic. With these new manmade joints, your body should move and work better, without pain.

After the knee and hip, the shoulder is the third most common large joint that requires joint replacement. Elbow, finger, and wrist joints can also be replaced.

Why would I need a joint replacement of the upper extremity?

If you have pain, limited range of motion, stiffness, or weakness in your shoulder, wrist, elbow, or fingers, Dr. Yaffe may recommend a joint replacement after other treatments such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, and other medications have failed to reduce your symptoms.

Common reasons why your joint would be damaged enough to warrant a joint replacement procedure are:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Years of overuse
  • Fracture or another injury

What should I expect during joint replacement of the upper extremity?

As a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon with a subspecialty in upper extremity conditions, Dr. Yaffe has extensive experience performing joint replacements. He goes over presurgery instructions and answers all your questions so that you feel calm and prepared for your surgery.  

Before the surgery, you receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable during the procedure. During the surgery, Dr. Yaffe removes the damaged joints, cartilage, and bone and replaces them with specially made replacement materials that are molded into the shape of your natural joint. The surgery should only take a couple of hours.


What is recovery like after a joint replacement of the upper extremity?

You can expect to stay in the hospital for a few days while you recover. Medication includes pain relievers and antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. Physical therapy and rehabilitation usually start right away in the hospital and continue after you’re released so that you’re back to your normal routine as soon as possible.

For more information on joint replacement of the upper extremity, call Barrington Orthopedic Specialists or make an appointment online. 

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