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Elbow Arthroscopy

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

With the increasing popularity of sports and physical activities, more and more individuals are experiencing elbow injuries that can cause chronic pain and limit their range of motion. Elbow arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that is commonly performed to treat various elbow sports injuries and conditions.

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If you are suffering from an elbow sports injury, contact us at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow. Our healthcare specialists in Atlanta and Marieta, GA will explain why elbow arthroscopy is a safe and effective way to treat elbow pain. 

With comprehensive expertise in musculoskeletal conditions and state-of-the-art equipment, our elbow specialists are ready to get you back in the game. Schedule an appointment now for a consultation!

What Is Elbow Arthroscopy?

Elbow arthroscopy surgery is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat elbow problems. The most common reason for elbow arthroscopy is to remove inflamed or damaged tissue that may be causing pain or preventing a normal range of motion. 

Elbow arthroscopy is commonly used to diagnose and/or treat conditions such as tennis elbow, loose bodies of cartilage or bone fragments, inflammation of tendons or ligaments, bursitis, tendonitis, and arthritis of the elbow joint. In some cases, it can also be used to prevent joint stiffness, particularly after an injury.

What Happens During an Elbow Arthroscopy Procedure?

During an elbow arthroscopy procedure, orthopedic surgeons use an arthroscope, which is a small camera attached to a thin tube, to look inside the joint and repair any damage they find.

The orthopedic surgeon will first make several small incisions near the elbow joint in order to insert the arthroscope into the area. Fluid is also typically inserted into the joint in order to expand it and give surgeons better visibility of all structures within it. 

The orthopedic surgeon then moves the arthroscope around within the joint to assess for any damage to the elbow joint, such as a torn ligament or loose body.

The orthopedic surgeon may also use small instruments inserted through other incisions in order to trim any damaged soft tissues surrounding the joint and repair any cartilage damage. The surgeon may also move the ulnar nerve if it is causing pain or numbness. 

After completing all these steps, the surgeon will close up the incisions with stitches and then bandage the area. The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour.

When Is an Elbow Arthroscopy Recommended?

An elbow arthroscopy procedure is recommended when scar tissue has built up around the joint due to an injury or overuse, which can cause pain and interfere with the normal movement of the elbow. It can also help if there are loose bodies or mild arthritis in the joint.

Scar tissue can be painful and limit the range of motion, making it difficult to perform everyday activities. The purpose is to remove scar tissue in order to relieve pain and improve joint function.

Loose bodies can cause painful catching in the elbow. Arthritis can cause pain and stiffness in the joint. An MRI may be ordered to help diagnose the issue.

How Long Does it Take to Recover From an Elbow Arthroscopy Procedure?

The recovery period following elbow arthroscopy can vary depending on the extent of the injury and the surgical procedure performed. Patients can typically expect to recover within 4-6 weeks. During this time, the upper arm will be immobilized in a sling or brace to allow the surgical site to heal. 

Elbow arthroscopy typically requires a shorter recovery time when compared to shoulder and knee arthroscopy. This is because the shoulder and knee joints are among the largest and most complex joints in the body and therefore require more time for recovery than some other joints like the elbow. 

During the elbow arthroscopy recovery period, a patient should experience some pain and discomfort and may need to take pain medicine to manage it. Occupational therapy and rehabilitation are usually recommended after the elbow surgery as well, which can help reduce stiffness and improve the range of motion.

Call Us Today!

Ready to find relief from elbow pain? Arthroscopic surgery may be the answer. Contact us today at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow to learn more about how this minimally invasive surgical procedure can help you on your road to recovery! We have offices in Marietta and Atlanta, GA for your convenience.

Medically reviewed by

Randall Alexander, MD