Arthroscopy of
the Elbow

Arthroscopy of the Elbow

Elbow arthroscopy is keyhole surgery used to diagnose and treat problems inside your elbow joint including: elbow pain, stiffness, locking or swelling. 

Arthroscopy of the elbow with Ramsay Health Care

Ramsay Health Care offers rapid and convenient access to arthroscopy of the elbow, that is performed by highly skilled and experienced consultant orthopaedic surgeons with a special interest in elbows. 

Your local Ramsay hospital will support your earliest recovery from elbow arthroscopy with physiotherapy services available as required.

What is an arthroscopy of the elbow?

Arthroscopy of the elbow allows your doctor to see inside your elbow joint using a camera that is inserted through small skin incisions around your elbow. Once your surgeon has examined and diagnosed your problem, they may treat it at the same time. 

Elbow arthroscopy can diagnose or treat elbow pain and problems including:

Assessing cartilage loss or damage – due to injury or arthritis.
Removal of loose bodies - fragments of bone or cartilage can break loose due to arthritis, excessive stress or injury and, cause pain, catching and locking of your elbow joint.
Removal of bone spurs – bony projections can appear, often due to arthritis, that impede your normal joint movement.
Elbow capsule release – the elbow capsule that surrounds your elbow joint can become thickened due to injury, surgery, or other trauma and cause stiffness and restricted movement.
Tennis elbow treatment - the unhealthy portion of the tendon in tennis elbow is cut away.
Removal of adhesions – scar tissue from a previous elbow injury, such as a fracture blocks motion.
Release of contractures – abnormal muscle and tendon contraction limits your range of motion.

What are the benefits of an arthroscopy of the elbow?

Elbow arthroscopy allows your surgeon to diagnose your elbow problem and, in some cases treat it at the same time negating the need for another procedure. Patients see significant improvements in their symptoms and elbow function.

Arthroscopy of the elbow only requires a couple of small incisions and benefits from less pain, swelling and stiffness, less complications and, a faster recovery than conventional surgery.

What does the operation of an arthroscopy of the elbow involve?

Arthroscopy of the elbow is performed by an orthopaedic surgeon under general or regional anaesthetic. It typically takes around thirty minutes to perform.

During surgery a tiny camera called an arthroscope is placed into your elbow joint through small incisions of the skin around your joint. The camera displays pictures on a television monitor and your surgeon uses these to look around your elbow joint and they can treat any problems using miniature surgical instruments. They will finally close and dress your cuts.

Your elbow surgeon will discuss the procedure with you in detail beforehand.

What complications can happen after an arthroscopy of the elbow surgery?

Elbow arthroscopy is performed frequently and is generally a safe surgical procedure. However, as with any surgery, there are some risks, but they are usually minor and treatable.

Potential problems with elbow arthroscopy include: infection, nerve damage, excessive bleeding, incomplete relief of symptoms, elbow stiffness, neuroma (a painful growth of nerve tissue) and, complex regional pain syndrome.

What is the cost of an arthroscopy of the elbow?

If you decide to pay for your treatment, Ramsay offer an all-inclusive Total Care package, where a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price, delivering direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance. You can also spread the cost of your treatment with finance options available.

An arthroscopy of the elbow may be covered by your medical insurance policy. We advise you to check directly with your insurance provider and get written confirmation before commencing treatment. 

How soon will I recover after an arthroscopy of the elbow surgery?

You can usually go home the same day as your elbow arthroscopy. 

You may be advised to wear a sling for a few days post-operation and to do physiotherapy exercises. 

Your recovery will depend on the extent of the treatment for your elbow condition. For example, full recovery can take approximately three to six weeks for loose body removal and, eight to twelve weeks for elbow spur removal. Most patients return to work within several days if their job doesn’t require heavy lifting, climbing or throwing.

You should follow your surgeon's guidelines and rehabilitation plan for a successful outcome.

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