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Elbow arthroscopy in London

Elbow arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical treatment that allows orthopaedic surgeons to see inside the joint and diagnose and treat elbow problems.

ORTHOPAEDICS | ELBOW ARTHROSCOPY

Introducing the service

An arthroscopy is a minimally invasive (keyhole) surgery, routinely carried out by orthopaedic surgeons to investigate and treat problems inside joints. In an elbow arthroscopy, the surgeon inserts an arthroscope (a very small camera) into the elbow joint through a tiny incision. The camera displays live video on a screen so the surgeon can see inside the joint and use miniature surgical instruments to correct any irregularities, if necessary.

The elbow arthroscopies our elbow Specialists perform at Schoen Clinic London can be diagnostic or surgical. Our experts have extensive experience in performing the procedure and use the latest techniques to deliver first-class treatment.

An arthroscopic elbow surgery has numerous advantages over an open elbow surgery. Because the surgical instruments are so thin, the incisions made to your skin are much smaller than a single large cut made for open surgery. As a result, less soft tissue is damaged which means less pain for patients. From a cosmetic point of view, any scarring from an elbow arthroscopy will be minimal and the healing time is much quicker too.

 

 

Who is the ideal candidate for elbow arthroscopy?

Your Consultant may recommend elbow arthroscopy if you are in pain and conservative (nonsurgical) treatments such as rest, physical therapy, and medications or injections that can reduce inflammation have not been successful. Inflammation is a normal reaction to injury or joint disease and causes swelling, pain and stiffness.

Upper limb conditions: arthroscopic or open surgery?

Upper limb conditions commonly treated with arthroscopy
  • Tennis elbow

  • Elbow arthritis

  • Osteochondritis dissecansRrelease of scar tissue

  • Removal of loose bodies

  • Treatment of fractures

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

 

 

Upper limb conditions more effectively treated with open surgery
  • Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • Repair of the collateral ligaments
  • Complex fractures
  • Elbow joint replacement (arthroplasty)
  • Decompress the ulnar nerve (funny bone)

Getting to the root of the problem

Overuse, age-related (degenerative) wear and tear or injury are usually responsible for elbow problems. These problems can cause damage to the cartilage surfaces or other soft tissues around the elbow joint, leading to painful symptoms. Arthroscopic elbow surgery can help to relieve the pain you may be experiencing. Your Consultant can use an elbow arthroscopy to diagnose a condition, repair or remove the damaged tissue, or release scar tissue that may be impeding movement.

At Schoen Clinic London, an elbow arthroscopy is performed as a day case, so you will usually be able to go home once you've recovered from the anaesthetic. However, your Consultant may recommend that you spend one night with us at our world-class hospital if they deem it necessary.

The majority of elbow arthroscopies are conducted under general anaesthesia, while a local anaesthetic may be utilised in select circumstances. To learn more about your options, speak with your Consultant Anaesthetist. In any case, try to eat a balanced diet and, if you smoke, stop or cut down before surgery.

What happens during an elbow arthroscopy?

An elbow arthroscopy is usually performed under a general anaesthetic or and lasts between 45 and 90 minutes. To allow your Consultant easy access to your elbow, you will lie on your side or stomach. Your Consultant injects the elbow joint with a saline solution to prevent damage to nerves and blood vessels. One or more small incisions will be made in your elbow and a small camera is inserted, which will relay visuals to a screen.

After examining your elbow joint and performing any necessary procedures, your Consultant will remove the camera and surgical instruments before the wound is closed with stitches, surgical strips and covered with an absorbent dressing.

Recovery & rehabilitation: elbow arthroscopy

After elbow arthroscopy surgery you’ll be taken to the recovery room where our expert nursing team will monitor you until you have fully come round from anaesthesia, usually between 45 minutes to 2 hours. For more complex procedures your Consultant may recommend that you spend one night with us at our world-class hospital, otherwise you will be discharged on the same day. You will be prescribed pain medication to take for the first few days after surgery.

Recovery from arthroscopic surgery is often faster than recovery from open surgery, but depending on your specific treatment it may still take from weeks to months for your elbow join to fully recover. More extensive surgery may take a little longer than minor surgery for the pain to subside. After that, anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can be helpful.

Rehabilitation plays a vital role in returning your quality of life. Our London elbow Specialists work as a multidisciplinary team with surgeons, physiotherapists, nurses and sports injury doctors to design your individually tailored rehabilitation programme to help you get there. It’s recommended that you elevate and ice your elbow regularly for the first 48 hours after the procedure to minimise swelling and soothe pain. You’ll be provided with some early range-of-motion exercises to prevent joint stiffness and specific instructions on what to do and when, depending on your specific procedure.

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