What is an Elbow Arthroscopy?
Elbow arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure useful in treating many painful elbow conditions. This procedure minimizes scar formation which is particularly important in the elbow due to its inclination to develop stiffness after injury or surgery. 3 to 5 small incisions are made around the elbow and a pencil-sized camera is inserted to diagnose and treat conditions within the joint.
Why would I need an Elbow “Scope”?
Cartilage injuries, bone fragments and bone spurs can be removed using this advanced technique. Likewise, arthritis and tendonitis are often treated with “the scope” leading to rapid improvement of an otherwise chronically painful joint. Certain fractures can be treated arthroscopically and one of the most beneficial procedures is removal of spurs in our “more experienced” overhead athletes who wish to continue throwing. The elbow is notorious for scarring and stiffness after surgery; elbow arthroscopy has been quite successful in minimizing this problem that occurs after traditional open surgery.
What happens during the surgery and what should I expect after?
This is an outpatient procedure during which a fiber optic HD camera is inserted into the joint and specialized instruments allow for repair of cartilage and tendons as well as removal of diseased tissue. The elbow will remain swollen for several days after the surgery and may drain for several days. While post-surgical course depends on the specific procedure performed, typically very little immobilization is required after this procedure although a generous amount of physical therapy is often necessary.