Elbow arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed to diagnose and treat various conditions affecting the elbow joint.
When is an Elbow Arthroscopy Needed?
This procedure may be needed in various situations when there are specific conditions or injuries affecting the elbow joint that might require diagnostic evaluation or surgical intervention.
Some common cases where an elbow arthroscopy is needed include:
· Diagnostic purposes: This procedure can be performed to directly visualize the elbow joint and identify the cause of any elbow issues, such as pain, stiffness, and limited movement.
· Treatment of injuries: An elbow arthroscopy may be recommended to treat an injured or damaged elbow.
· Elbow instability: Elbow arthroscopy can be done to diagnose and treat instability in the elbow joint. It may involve ligament repair or reconstruction to restore stability and prevent dislocations.
· Treat various conditions: This procedure can be employed in the treatment of various conditions including arthritis, and osteoarthritis, among others.
Who is Candidate for this Procedure?
Elbow arthroscopy may be considered for patients who meet certain criteria and have specific conditions affecting the elbow joint. Candidates for this procedure typically include:
· Patients with persistent elbow pain.
· Athletes who use their arms repetitively.
· Patients with limited movement.
· Patients who suspect joint damage.
Your doctor will also consider your medical history, symptoms, and response to non-surgical treatments to determine if you’re an ideal candidate for the procedure.
Elbow Arthroscopy Step-by-Step
This procedure is usually done through the following steps:
1. Anesthesia: This procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia, meaning you will be asleep during surgery.
2. Positioning: To easily adjust the arthroscope into your elbow you will be positioned either on your side or lying on your stomach. Then a tourniquet will be applied to your arm to place it in an arm holder to keep the position.
3. Insertion of the arthroscope: Your surgeon will make small incisions in the area, then through one of the incisions an arthroscope, which is an instrument with a camera and a light on the end, will be inserted. This will allow a clear view of the inside of your joint.
4. Evaluation and treatment: Your surgeon will evaluate closely your elbow joint, and if necessary, perform the necessary procedure to treat the issue.
5. Closing Incisions: After the procedure is done, your surgeon will use stitches to close the incisions. A bandage may be applied to protect them.
Recovery After Surgery
Typically, right after surgery, you will stay in the recovery room for a few hours before returning home. If your arthroscopy is more complex, you might have to stay overnight.
Medicine might be prescribed to manage pain and swelling. You will also be recommended to apply ice packs to your elbow and elevate it regularly for a few days after surgery. This will help reduce swelling and manage pain.
You may also be instructed to move your arm and hand to prevent joint stiffness and stimulate circulation.
Your elbow joint might take from weeks to months to completely recover. During this time you have to follow closely the indications provided by your doctor.