After having a noncancerous tumor removed from my elbow, most of the joint and bone on either side were destroyed. In order to salvage the arm, the surgeon wants to fuse together what's left of the bones around the elbow. What's the best position to put my arm in permanently?

Until recently, it was recommended that the elbow be placed in 90 degrees of flexion. Since there were no data to prove this was the best position, a group of researchers decided to investigate. After studying a group of healthy adults, it seems that a position of 110 degrees of flexion is best (slightly more than a right angle). This position allows for the most arm function.

Before you have this surgery, ask your doctor about a trial period with an adjustable brace. Try five or six different settings, and keep track of which activities you can and can't do in each. A physical or occupational therapist can help you with this. Other factors to consider include your occupation and work-related tasks, your personal preferences, and whether you are right- or left-handed.