Elbow joint pain can be debilitating and frustrating, especially if you have tried several nonsurgical methods to relieve pain. The good news, though, is that there’s another option that may provide what you have been searching for…relief!
Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons at OrthoNeuro are among the best, and we have helped thousands in the Greater Columbus Area! Contact us today to learn more about what we can do to help.
A procedure that we have found to be very successful in relieving elbow pain is arthroscopy. It may be the right solution for you!
What Is Elbow Arthroscopy?
Elbow arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive diagnostic surgical procedure that orthopedic surgeons use to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside the elbow joint.
This procedure can be used to remove or trim your elbow’s bone spurs. Elbow bone spurs are tiny bony growths that can be found on the edge of your bone. Arthroscopic surgery can also be used to repair torn tendons and ligaments within your elbow.
Generally, most elbow problems result from overuse, injury, or wear and tear. Elbow arthroscopy can be used to relieve pain from arthritis, release scar tissue and loose bodies, and more.
Why Might I Need an Elbow Arthroscopy?
Typically, you may need an elbow arthroscopy if:
- your condition has not improved or shown little response to non-surgical treatment
- your pain persists
- you still have a limited range of motion
How Is Elbow Arthroscopy Performed?
At OrthoNeuro, elbow arthroscopy is performed in an outpatient setting. This means that you can return home the same day.
You may be curious as to how this procedure is performed. Below you will find the standard procedural steps for elbow arthroscopy.
Procedure Steps for Elbow Arthroscopy:
- First, your orthopedic surgeon will make small incisions on your elbow.
- Second, your surgeon will use an arthroscopic camera to view the surgical site and identify the issue.
- Then, work will commence rectifying the source of your pain, whether it’s removing bone spurs or repairing tendons and ligaments.
- Finally, once everything is completed, your small incisions will be closed using small sutures.
Will Regional Nerve Block Injections Be Used?
A regional anesthetic may be provided to assist with pain control once your surgeon completes your nerve examination.
Are There Various Forms of Elbow Arthroscopy?
Yes, there are various procedures used to perform elbow arthroscopy, depending on the need and condition. Some of these common arthroscopic procedures include:
Joint Capsule Repair
Sometimes a loose capsule of the elbow may cause pain, instability, and even weakness. This procedure will tighten the loose capsule by reattaching the loose parts back to the bone.
Sometimes the opposite occurs and a tight capsule causes pain, stiffness, and a decreased ability to move. In this case, a joint capsule release would be used to remove pieces of the capsule.
Bone Spur Removal
In severe cases of elbow osteoarthritis, bone-on-bone rubbing can occur. The formation of bone spurs (also known as osteophytes) is very likely. These bone spurs can be smoothed down to reduce friction and irritation.
Whether it’s from osteoarthritis or an injury, both can cause the cartilage in your elbow joint to tear. This can be painful and limit movement. During this form of elbow arthroscopy, small instruments are used to remove all the torn cartilage.
Risk Factors of Elbow Arthroscopic Surgery
As with all surgeries, whether minimally invasive or not, there can be some risks.
While the risks for elbow arthroscopic surgery are low, studies have shown that there is a higher risk with this procedure than arthroscopy of the shoulder and knee joints, and they can include:
- Possible injury to the soft tissues surrounding articular cartilage and structures of your elbow joint
- Potential nerve damage near your elbow joint
- Possible infection
- Possible blood clots
- The possibility that the pain or discomfort may not be completely removed after the procedure
Benefits of Elbow Arthroscopic Surgery
Although there are some risks, the benefits may outweigh the risks in your case. Some of the benefits of elbow arthroscopic surgery include:
- Less invasive than traditional open-arm surgeries
- Reduces the chance of soft tissue disruption and trauma
- Minor scarring
- Reduced pain postoperatively
- Lower infection rates
- Accelerated healing
- Resuming activities within a shorter period
Recovery After Elbow Arthroscopy Surgery
Generally, wounds will heal within a few days. However, you may still feel discomfort for about two weeks after your procedure.
The time frame for returning to your normal activity level will vary depending on the extent of the surgery. A minor repair would require less healing time than more complicated procedures.
It has been noticed that most are able to return to these activities within a few days. More strenuous activities may take a few weeks before they can be resumed.
Post-Operative Instructions Include:
- Take medication to relieve pain if prescribed by your doctor.
- Apply ice and elevate your elbow regularly to reduce the risks of severe swelling.
- Early range of motion exercises and physical therapy to prevent joint stiffness from developing.
Our board-certified surgeons at OrthroNeuro in Columbus, OH understand how inconvenient elbow pain can be and how it can have a major impact on your life. But this pain does not have to last forever! Schedule an appointment with us today!
Make an Appointment with an OrthoNeuro Specialist Today!
If you have been considering elbow arthroscopy, schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists at one of our 7 convenient locations throughout Greater Columbus.
Best of all, most patients can be seen within 24 hours of making an appointment.
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