What can I expect after my elbow fusion surgery?

After surgery, you will either wear an external fixator for up to twelve weeks or a long-arm cast for about six weeks. Both devices hold the elbow still while the ends of the bones fuse together. Your surgeon will want to check your elbow within five to seven days. Stitches will be removed after ten to fourteen days, although most of them will have been absorbed by your body. You may have some discomfort after surgery. Your doctor can give you pain medicine to control the discomfort.

You should keep your arm elevated above the level of your heart for several days to avoid swelling and throbbing. Keep it propped up on a stack of pillows when sleeping or sitting.

If you keep having pain or find that you have stiffness in the shoulder, wrist, or finger joints, you may need a physical or occupational therapist to direct your recovery program.