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Elbow arthroscopy

Elbow arthroscopy
  • Definition

    It is a surgery in which a small camera called an arthroscope is used to examine or repair the tissues in or around the elbow joint. The arthroscope is inserted through a small cut (incision) in the skin. Other instruments will be inserted through other skin incisions (2-5 depending on the needs of the pathology treated). At the end of the surgery, the incisions will be closed with stitches and covered with a dressing (bandage).
  • Indications

    Arthroscopy may be recommended for these elbow problems:

    Epicondylitis or tennis elbow.
    Damaged or broken joint ligaments or cartilage.
    Elbow instability, where the elbow joint is loose and slips around too much or becomes dislocated.
    A damaged or broken biceps tendon.
    Radius head fractures or coronoid process tear.
    Calcifications of the tendons around the elbow.
    Inflammation or damage to the joint lining, usually caused by a disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
    Free articular bodies that need to be removed.
  • Risks

    The risks of anesthesia and surgery in general are:

    Allergic reactions to medications
    Respiratory problems
    Bleeding, blood clots, infection

    The risks of elbow arthroscopy are:

    Elbow stiffness
    Lack of effectiveness of surgery to relieve symptoms
    Insufficient repair to heal
    Elbow weakness
    Injury to a blood vessel or nerve
  • Prospects (prognosis)

    Arthroscopy generally produces less pain and stiffness, fewer complications, shorter hospitalizations, and faster recovery than open surgery.
    If the repair was done, your body needs time to heal, even after arthroscopic surgery, just as it would take time to recover from open surgery.
    The results will depend on the previous pathology of the elbow, but they are satisfactory in more than 90% of the patients after following the prescribed recovery process.

    Postoperative period of the surgery

    Follow all discharge and personal care instructions given to you.
    Recovery can take anywhere from 1 to 4 months. You will probably have to wear a sling for a few days or for 4-5 weeks depending on the procedure you have undergone.
    You can take medicine to control pain according to the guideline.
    The time to go back to work or play sports will depend on what the surgery involved and can range from a few weeks to several months.
    Home or outpatient physical therapy can help you regain movement and strength in your elbow. The duration of therapy will depend on what was done during the surgery.

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