There are two types of elbow implants: Linked (semi-constrained) or unlinked (unconstrained).
With linked (semi-constrained) implants, the components of the implant are connected together. Orthopaedic physicians choose linked implants when the surrounding joint structures are unable to provide stability to the joint.
With unlinked (unconstrained) implants there is no physical connection holding the parts of the implant together. The joint capsule, ligaments, muscles, and other structures of the joint maintain the contact between the moving surfaces of the implant. Unlinked implants reproduce the natural anatomy of the joint as much as possible.
Some implant designs allow the surgeon to choose either unconstrained or semi-constrained implants with the same system for the patient during surgery.
If you experience chronic pain from arthritis of the elbow, you may wish to talk with your physician about this option.