The Outcome of Examination (Manipulation) Under Anesthesia on the Stiff Elbow After Surgical Contracture Release

Author(s): Araghi A, Celli A, Adams R, and Morrey B.

Source: J Shoulder Elbow Surg 19(2): 202-8, 2010.


This study examines 51 consecutive patients who underwent manipulation under anesthesia after having previously undergone a surgical release for elbow joint contracture.  The authors document that they re-manipulated the patients at an average of 40 days after their initial surgical contracture release.  At twelve months, they found that the patient’s arc of motion improved from 33 degrees to 73 degrees at final assessment.  They had no complications.

This article indicates that manipulation of the elbow in order to improve arc of motion may be of some benefit following contracture release if the patient appears to be losing motion in the first 4-6 weeks following contracture release.