Summer 2005

Elbows Orthopaedics' 'Last Frontier'

While contracture release was not considered a viable option for stiff elbows in the past, it has become clear in recent years that the operation can be successful if each stage of the procedure is done correctly. "With appropriate operative technique, post-operative pain management and static progressive bracing, range of motion can be restored to the elbow after development of post-traumatic contracture and heterotopic ossification," says Dr. Lisa L. Lattanza, chief of UCSF's Elbow Service.

This sort of attention to detail and commitment to care at all stages of preparation, surgery and recovery have made the Elbow Service highly successful at treating complex elbow cases. "Elbows have been the last frontier in orthopaedics in terms of understanding the complexities of instability and stiffness after trauma and successfully replacing the elbow joint for pain and deformity from trauma or arthritis," Lattanza says.

"We have expertise in treating intra-articular fractures, complex instability, arthritic patients that require total elbow arthroplasty and patients with elbow contracture and heterotopic ossification," Lattanza says.

Pediatric elbow problems from acute trauma to post-traumatic reconstruction and congenital abnormalities also are within the subspecialty care provided by the Elbow Service. "Pediatric elbow problems present another layer of complexity because the joint is still growing," Lattanza says. "We are eager to assist in the care of these difficult cases."

Physicians can contact Dr. Lisa Lattanza at (415) 476-1167. Patients can contact her at (415) 885-3811.

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