The elbow is the joint that connects the upper arm bone and the forearm bones. The joint may be affected by inflammation, injury, or other conditions causing severe pain and requiring surgical treatment. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery performed using a tiny device called an arthroscope.
Your orthopedic surgeon performs a physical examination and seeks your medical history before arthroscopy is performed.
Elbow arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery or keyhole procedure that allows your surgeon to look inside the joint using small incisions and instruments to evaluate and treat elbow conditions. It is performed under anesthesia. To perform the procedure, your surgeon will make 2-3 incisions near your elbow. One is for the insertion of an arthroscope, a small device with a camera and lens fixed to the end of a narrow fibre-optic tube, and the other is for the insertion of operating instruments.
After the surgery, your surgeon will place a cast or a splint that prevents the movement of the elbow until it is healed completely. You should elevate the elbow to avoid swelling and minimize pain. Ice (wrapped over a cloth) can be applied over the operated area which helps to reduce swelling. Medications are prescribed to reduce pain.
Some of the advantages of arthroscopy are it requires smaller incisions, minimal soft tissue trauma, less pain, faster recovery time, low infection rate, less scarring, and earlier mobilization. It also allows patients to return to normal activities more quickly.
RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS
Some of the risks observed after elbow arthroscopy include infection, damage to the nearby nerves or tissues during surgery, and stiffness which can be treated through occupational therapy. Exercises are performed to strengthen and rebuild elbow muscles.
Elbow arthroscopic surgery may not be performed in individuals with ulnar nerve transposition and in those who had undergone previous surgery that changed the normal elbow anatomy.