Alexander E Weber, MD
Orthopaedic surgeon & sports Medicine specialist

Elbow Arthroscopy

Orthopaedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist in Beverly Hills, El Segundo, Glendale, & Los Angeles, CA

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Elbow Arthroscopy services offered in Beverly Hills, El Segundo, Glenale & Los Angeles, CA

The elbow consists of three joints:

  • The ulnohumeral joint, where the ulna and humerus meet
  • The radiohumeral joint, where the radius and humerus meet
  • The proximal radioulnar joint, where the radius and ulna meet

The elbow is supported by several soft tissues, including cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and bursae.

Indications for elbow arthroscopy

Arthroscopic elbow surgery is commonly advised to address the following issues:

  • Extraction of fragments of bone or damaged cartilage tissue
  • Elimination of scar tissue
  • Excision of bone spurs: These are excess bony growths caused by arthritis or injury that impair joint function and result in discomfort.

Furthermore, arthroscopy may be employed to manage osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and a condition known as osteochondritis dissecans, characterized by unattached fragments of bone and cartilage within the joint space.

Evaluation and Diagnosis:

Your surgeon will review your medical history and perform a complete physical examination. Diagnostic studies may also be ordered such as X-rays, MRI or CT scan to assist in diagnosis.

Surgical procedure 

Arthroscopy is a medical intervention that involves inserting an arthroscope, a small and flexible tube with a light and camera at the end, into a joint to diagnose and treat different conditions.

Elbow arthroscopy is commonly performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. During the procedure, the patient is positioned laterally or prone to facilitate the surgeon's access and improve visualization of the elbow's interior.

The surgeon makes several tiny incisions to insert the arthroscope and surgical instruments into the joint. A sterile liquid is used to fill the elbow joint to enhance the clarity of the internal structures through the arthroscope and limit bleeding. The camera attached to the arthroscope displays the elbow's internal structures on a monitor and helps the surgeon evaluate the joint and guide the instruments to address the issue.

The procedure concludes with the closure of the surgical incisions using sutures and the application of a soft sterile dressing. The surgeon may immobilize the elbow using a cast or a splint to restrict its movement.

Arthroscopy offers several advantages over traditional open elbow surgery, including smaller incisions, minimal soft tissue damage, less post-operative pain, faster healing, and a lower infection rate.

Post-operative care

After your elbow arthroscopy procedure, it is important to follow these post-surgical instructions:

  • Rest well and take it easy.
  • Elevate your elbow above your heart using pillows to reduce swelling.
  • Keep the incision site dry and clean.
  • You may be instructed to wear a compression stocking from the armpit to the hand to reduce pain and improve range of motion.
  • Your doctor will prescribe pain medication to manage any discomfort.
  • Physical therapy will be recommended to help regain normal elbow strength.
  • Eating a healthy diet and avoiding smoking can aid in healing.

Complications that may occur after elbow arthroscopy include infection, bleeding, and nerve or blood vessel damage.