Elbow replacement surgery / Top clinic in Germany, Friedrichshafen

Elbow replacement surgery

Our orthopedic centre in Friedrichshafen, Germany is famous for its state-of-the-art orthopaedic surgery. Our Center for joint replacement, under the guidance of an experienced Professor of Medicine Eugene Winter, is highly specialised in modern minimally invasive diagnostic and surgical procedures (keyhole surgery), implantation of modular joint prosthetics and complicated replacement of existing prosthetics.

An elbow replacement is most often performed when the joint has been damaged in some kind of accident. Also the rheumatism leads to wearing off the joint tissue. Damage to the joint as a result of tumours can also be an indication for elbow replacement surgery.

Diagnostics and treatment

Within the framework of our special consultation hours for shoulder and elbow surgery, a clinical examination takes place, in which your medical history, digital X-rays, MRI and computed tomography (possibly with 3-D images) play a decisive role. This is essential in order to decide on the appropriate form of therapy and for the careful, extensive endoprosthesis planning for your individual case.

In the case of irreparably damaged joints, our Joint Centre in Germany can implant an endoprosthesis, as is done with other joint replacements, e.g. knee, hip, shoulder. Options are:

  • coupled or partially coupled endoprosthesis,
  • endoprosthesis replacement with or without a radial head prosthesis,
  • partial endoprosthesis


Today, elbow replacement surgery presents a solution for patients with rheumatoid arthritis or extremely advanced arthritis after injuries to the joint. The prosthetics available are excellent and deliver very good results. Usually, good mobility of the joint with complete absence of pain can be achieved with this procedure.

Types of prosthetics

As is the case with knee endoprosthetics, elbow prosthetics used in replacement surgery are also divided into various categories according to international norms (ISO).

  • uncoupled (joint resurfacing)
  • partially coupled
  • rigidly coupled, axis guided endoprosthesis

The indications for uncoupled prosthetics in elbow replacement surgery are very limited. The greatest threat here lies in insufficient stability in terms of the ligaments which in turn results in a very high risk of dislocation.

In the case of rheumatic disorders of the joint, it can be presumed that the damage to the bones and ligaments is more considerable, in which case resurfacing of the joint alone is insufficient. In this case, a partially coupled prosthesis or a rigidly coupled prosthesis can be considered. Sufficient integrity of the bone to ensure long-term stability of the endoprosthesis is a prerequisite for the success of this operation. A 14 day stay in the clinic is usually required, followed by in-patient rehabilitation. After the operation, physiotherapy is necessary to restore the strength of the muscles.


A bacterial infection is a contraindication for an endoprosthesis. Such infections must first be brought under control with antibiotics or by other means before a surgical procedure can be considered. In a pre-operative consultation, the patient is thoroughly informed regarding the implantation of the endoprosthesis. For example, people who do heavy work (such as builders) will need to change their jobs or possibly begin training in another field, because the artificial joint will never be as stable as a natural healthy joint, and the amount of weight it can bear is limited.


The prognosis for this type of procedure can be described as good. In the last few decades, surgical techniques have made huge advances and modern prosthetics deliver excellent results. Elbow replacement surgery is becoming a routine orthopaedic procedure. The artificial joint has excellent mobility and a long life-span. However, lifting weights of more than 4-5kg is contraindicated as it can lead to loosening of the prosthesis. For this reason, this procedure is usually only performed in elderly patients, patients suffering from rheumatism and accident victims, and in some cases, for patients who are not likely to burden the joint very much. On making your decision about the efficient joint therapy, please, don't hesitate to call us.

Elbow replacement surgery

3.5/5 (109 votes)

Comments and questions

Carolyn Mink Thu, 25 Jan 21:54

I am a 43 y/o active female. I had a terrible triad injury of my right elbow in 06/16. I had radial head implant and lateral ligament repair. PT was not successful as pain increased and function decreased. In 11/16 a capsular release was done but PT proved unsuccessful again. A 2nd opinion suggested that the implant was too large and misplaced, so much that it had rubbed a hole in the humerus. Also the lateral ligament was unstable and the medial ligament was never repaired. Multiple loose bodies within the joint were found and ossifications as well. Subsequently a hole in the flexor pronator muscle was found. Revision to correct all of that was done in 06/17, including replacing the radial head implant.. Again pain increased and function/ROM decreased. A recent CT has revealed lucency around the RH stem, more loose bodies within the joint, new ossifications, and ulna subluxation along with severe progression of osteoarthritis with cysts formation. What would be your next step of treatment?

Tony Thorne Mon, 15 Jan 12:29

I have extreme wear and arthritis to my radial head which has had surgery to unlock a spur bone growth but wasn’t successful in completely straightening the elbow or reducing pain. Resurfacing was recommended but NHS stopped the operation which predominantly was done on older patients which had little muscle and tendon strength. I’m 50 and have good muscle and tendon strength. Can you help?
Kind regards

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Medical Staff

Prof MD Eugene Winter

Prof MD Eugene Winter
Head of the Orthopedic Department of Clinical center of Friedrichshafen

MD Norbert Heuer

MD Norbert Heuer
Head physician assistant

MD Christoph Kaiser

MD Christoph Kaiser
Senior physician

MD Rainer Schnell

MD Rainer Schnell
Senior physician

Ingrid Glauss

Ingrid Glauss
Medical secretary





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Facts and Figures

  • 12000 outpatient
  • 2523 inpatients
  • 2500 surgeries
  • 735 arthroplasty of the joints of the hip, knee and shoulder
  • 1500 hand surgeries

+49 7541 97 82 751


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