Total elbow arthroplasty was originally used to treat patients with arthritis. As familiarity with total elbow arthroplasty evolved, the indications were expanded to include other disorders. There continues to be a low number of total elbow arthroplasties performed each year in comparison with hip, knee, and shoulder arthroplasties, and few large studies have examined the indications and associated complications of total elbow arthroplasty. The purposes of this study were to evaluate the changes with time in the indications for total elbow arthroplasty and to examine the complications of this procedure in a large database.Methods:
The Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System database from the New York State Department of Health, a census of all ambulatory and inpatient surgical procedures in the state of New York, was used to identify individuals who underwent primary total elbow arthroplasty during the time period of 1997 to 2006. These total elbow arthroplasties were evaluated for admitting diagnoses, sex and age of patient, readmission and complication data, and time to subsequent elbow surgery.Results:
From 1997 to 2006, there were 1155 total elbow arthroplasties performed in New York State. In 1997, 43% of the total elbow arthroplasties were associated with trauma and 48%, with inflammatory conditions. In 2006, this changed to 69% and 19%, respectively. Within ninety days after the primary total elbow arthroplasty, 12% of the patients were readmitted to the hospital with approximately one-half (5.6%) admitted for problems related to the total elbow arthroplasty. The overall revision rate was 6.4%. The revision rates for the traumatic, inflammatory arthritis, and osteoarthritis groups were 4.8%, 8.3%, and 14.7%, respectively. Of particular interest, 90.5% of the total elbow arthroplasties were performed by surgeons with no recorded experience in the database, which began collecting these data in 1986.Conclusions:
This study provides useful information regarding patients undergoing total elbow arthroplasty in New York State. During the study period, the most common indication for total elbow arthroplasty changed from inflammatory arthritis to trauma. Although the number of total elbow arthroplasties being performed each year has increased, there continues to be a high complication and revision rate.Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.