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Fractures and other injuries to the elbow can lead to significant stiffness of the joint. Stiff, contracted elbows are being released more frequently by elbow arthroscopy. Although not curable by arthroscopy, patients with arthritis of the elbow can enjoy significant improvement in symptoms and function after arthroscopy. After physical examination, including x-rays or other studies such as CT or MRI scanning, your surgeon may recommend an arthroscopic procedure for treatment of your elbow disorder.

The procedure is performed under general or regional anesthesia. A fiberoptic camera is inserted through a small cut in the elbow.

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The camera lens magnifies and projects the small structures in the elbow onto a television monitor, allowing the surgeon to accurately diagnose the condition. Several other small cuts in the elbow allow the surgeon to place the camera in different positions to see different structures inside the joint and to place various small instruments into the joint to help treat various problems Figure 2. After your arthroscopy, you may be placed into an elbow splint that still allows you to use your hand. The amount of time in the splint will vary depending on what was performed at the time of surgery.

Elevating the arm is important to prevent excessive swelling and pain after your surgery. Certain conditions require that you begin therapy right away, and others may not require it at all. This procedure often allows the patient to go home the same day, but occasionally, depending on the condition, a hospital stay may be needed. As with any surgery, this procedure has risks. These include infection and potential damage to nerves and arteries. Stiffness may need to be addressed through rehabilitation. Find a hand surgeon near you.

Elbow Arthroscopy - OrthoInfo - AAOS

This content is written, edited and updated by hand surgeon members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Tip 1: Start with the basics like "carpal tunnel. Tip 3: Avoid capitalization and conjunctions like "the," "and," "or," or "in.

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When Elbow Arthroscopy Is Recommended

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Arthroscopic Elbow Surgery

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