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Elbow Arthroscopy

What is Elbow Arthroscopy?

This is a minimal invasive surgical procedure performed to diagnose and treat problems in the elbow joint.

Basically, the doctor will make a very small incision and insert the Arthroscope, a tiny camera, into your elbow enabling them to view the inside of the joint on the screen. The surgeons will then investigate the issue with the elbow and correct it using small miniature instruments.

Arthroscopic elbow surgery helps in diagnosing and treating several elbow problems with minimal invasive techniques. The recovery time and the prognosis will depend on the extent of the elbow injury and the complexity of the procedure.

When is it needed?

The doctors might recommend this treatments when you have elbow pain. The doctor might have already diagnosed your condition or he might need the arthroscopy to diagnose, confirm the pain source and treat it.

The injuries that can be diagnosed and treated by arthroscopy are:

  • Tennis Elbow
  • Removal of inflamed tissue or loose cartilage or bone spurs
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans
  • Stiff elbow release.

Elbow Arthroscopy Bangalore


Pre-Procedural activities

  • Patient will be prepared for the surgery by taking blood tests, ECG or chest X-ray, for a safe surgery.
  • Inform the doctor of the medications and supplements, you are presently taking. You might have to stop taking Ibuprofen or aspirin, before the procedure.
  • Please refrain from eating and drinking 6 hours prior to procedure.

During procedure

  • Patient will be given general anaesthetic before the surgery, which is putting patient to sleep. Patient will also be given intravenous antibiotics to lessen infection.
  • The doctor will decide the following patient positions depending on the procedure.
    • Prone Position: lying on the stomach.
    • Lateral Decubitius Position: patient will lie on his/her side.
  • The spine and other pressure points in arms and legs are padded and protected after the positioning the patient.
  • A tourniquet is applied to the upper arm to keep it in position.
  • Lines are drawn on the elbow to indicate the ulnar nerve and olecranon bone as well as the incision points.
  • The surgeon will begin by making incisions or cuts in the elbow and saline will be pumped into your elbow to expand it, helping to see better.
  • The arthroscope is entered through this incision and the tiny camera is used to view and take images of the injured area.
  • Once the problem in the elbow is located, small tools are inserted into the incisions to rectify this issue.
  • Once the surgery is over, saline is drained out and the incisions are closed with stitches.

Post-Procedural Activities

  • The patient usually can leave the next day itself .
  • The doctor might suggest icepack, elevation and change of dressing at home. The icepack will help reduce the swelling and minimize pain.
  • Doctor will need to see you at a follow-up appointment after a few days.
  • You might have to follow an exercise regimen, as instructed by the doctor or physical therapist.
Authored by Dr Banarji B.H - Shoulder Surgeon, Bangalore

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Baby Das

Last one year I was suffering from acute shoulder pain on my left shoulder. I went to several doctors, but not diagnosed.

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