The elbow is a complex hinge joint formed by the articulation of three bones – the humerus, radius and ulna. The upper arm bone or humerus connects the shoulder to the elbow forming the upper portion of the hinge joint. The lower arm consists of two bones, the radius, and the ulna. These bones connect the wrist to the elbow forming the lower portion of the hinge joint. The three joints of the elbow are:
- Ulnohumeral joint: junction between the ulna and humerus
- Radiohumeral joint: junction between the radius and humerus
- Proximal radioulnar joint: junction between the radius and ulna
What are the Different Types of Elbow Injuries?
Some of the common elbow injuries include elbow fractures, tennis elbow, golfers elbow, and elbow tendonitis.
What is Elbow Arthroscopy?
Elbow arthroscopy, also referred to as keyhole or minimally invasive surgery, is a surgical procedure that is performed through tiny incisions to evaluate and treat several elbow conditions.
Indications of Elbow Arthroscopy
Elbow arthroscopy may be recommended for the following reasons:
- Debridement of loose bodies such as bone chips or torn cartilage tissue
- Removal of scar tissue
- Removal of bone spurs (extra bony growths caused by injury or arthritis that damage the ends of bones causing pain and limited mobility)
- Treatment of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
- Osteochondritis dissecans, where loose fragments of cartilage and bone break into the joint space
Evaluation and Diagnosis
Your surgeon will review your medical history and perform a complete physical examination. Diagnostic studies may also be ordered such as X-rays, MRI or CT scan to assist in diagnosis.
Elbow Arthroscopy Procedure
Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure in which an arthroscope, or small camera, is inserted into a joint to evaluate and treat various conditions. Additional entry portals are made to allow for insertion of surgical instruments into the joint.
Elbow arthroscopy is commonly performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. You will be placed in a lateral or prone position. This allows your surgeon to easily adjust the arthroscope and have a clear view of the inside of the elbow.
Several tiny incisions are made to insert the arthroscope and small surgical instruments into the joint. To enhance the clarity of the elbow structures through the arthroscope, your surgeon will fill the elbow joint with a sterile liquid.
The liquid flows through the joint to maintain clarity and restrict any bleeding. The camera attached to the arthroscope displays the internal structures of the elbow on the monitor and helps your surgeon to evaluate the joint and direct the surgical instruments to address the problem.
At the end of the procedure, the surgical incisions are closed with sutures, and a soft sterile dressing is applied. Your surgeon may place a splint or sling to restrict the movement of the elbow.
Advantages of Elbow Arthroscopy
The advantages of arthroscopy compared to traditional open elbow surgery include:
- Smaller incisions
- Minimal soft tissue trauma
- Less postoperative pain
- Faster healing time
- Lower infection rate
Complications of Elbow Arthroscopy
The possible complications following elbow arthroscopy may include infection, bleeding, and damage to nerves or blood vessels.
- Open Elbow Surgery
- Distal Biceps Repair
- ORIF of the Humerus Fractures
- Radial Head ORIF and Replacement
- Common Extensor Tendon Origin Repair
- Total Elbow Replacement
- Elbow Arthroscopy
- ORIF of the Coronoid Fractures
- Elbow Ligament Reconstruction
- Elbow Tendon and Ligament Repair
- UCL Reconstruction (Tommy John Surgery)
- Tennis Elbow Surgery
- Ulnar Nerve Release
- Ulnar Nerve Transposition
- ORIF of the Distal Humerus Fractures
- ORIF of the Olecranon Fractures
- Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Repair with Internal Brace