Eighty elbows in 65 patients with an average age of 57 years have had two-part non-constrained Liverpool elbow arthroplasties performed since 1974. Fifty-five had rheumatoid arthritis, eight osteoarthritis or ankylosis secondary to injury, one osteochondritis dissecans and one pyknodysostosis. The average preoperative range of movement was 42 degrees to 112 degrees with 47 degrees of pronation and 42 degrees of supination. There was significant gain in the arc of movements at follow-up: 32 degrees in the extension-flexion range (average range 32 degrees to 134 degrees of flexion) and 42 degrees in forearm rotation (average pronation 69 degrees and supination 62 degrees). Before operation severe pain was the predominating symptom in 43 elbows (53.8%) but after replacement there was only moderate pain in five elbows (6.2%). The results were excellent in 42 (52.5%), good in 15 (18.7%), fair in 9 (11.3%) and unsatisfactory or poor in 14 (17.5%). Eight elbows required revision of the arthroplasty: three were post-traumatic, disorganised or osteoarthritic joints, three rheumatoid and both elbows in the patient with pyknodysostosis. Loosening of the prosthesis (particularly the humeral component) was the common factor necessitating revision. Of six rheumatoid elbows needing removal of the implant, four had deep infection, one had a dislodged humeral component as a result of injury and in one a divided olecranon had developed non-union. Rheumatoid elbows benefited more than post-traumatic arthritic elbows from the operation. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)