Elbow surgery is performed as an arthroscopic surgery to diagnose and repair joint problems instead of utilizing a more invasive “open” procedure to correct abnormalities. Arthroscopic surgery is frequently used to treat problems of the knee, shoulder and wrist joints, but many conditions of the elbow can be treated, as well. Arthroscopic surgery of the elbow is an attractive option for many patients because the incisions are smaller and disrupt less soft tissue than in open surgery and recovery involves less pain, swelling and stiffness.
Elbow arthroscopy is performed under general or regional anesthesia. During elbow arthroscopy, the elbow joint will be filled with fluid which helps the surgeon see the structures more clearly with the camera and to control bleeding. A tiny fiber optic camera is inserted through a small incision, called a portal. Images obtained from the camera will appear on a monitor, where the surgeon can more accurately diagnose the problem and then treat it. Once the damage has been assessed, doctors will either remove or repair the damaged tissue using small surgical instruments. The small instruments may be used for tasks such as passing sutures, grasping, shaving, cutting and tying knots. Depending on the injury, the procedure can last up to an hour. Surgery may be longer if it is combined with other treatment techniques at the same time.
Once the damage has been repaired, doctors will stitch the incisions closed and bandage the area.
Elbow arthroscopic surgery is most commonly used for:
- Removal of inflamed tissue
- Removal of loose fragments of bone or cartilage
- Restoration of cartilage (Capitellar OCD)
- Treatment for Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
- Elbow arthritis treatment
- Elbow joint replacement
- Ulnar nerve decompression
- Fracture repair
- Release of elbow contracture (Capsular Release)
Risks and Limitations
Any surgery carries certain risks, and the most common include infection and bleeding.
Elbow arthroscopy risks also include:
- Nerve or artery damage
- Stiffness which needs to be addressed through post-op physical therapy
There are a number of ways to surgically treat the elbow. Minimally invasive procedures have been perfected by the doctors at West Medical to provide you with effective treatment for long-lasting relief. To learn more about elbow arthroscopy and the orthopedic conditions it is used to treat, please contact West Medical at (855) 690-0565, and our helpful medical staff will answer any questions you may have.
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