Arthroscopic elbow surgery is used to treat degenerative joint disease and various injuries. Many elbow procedures are performed outpatient, which means the patient goes home the same day.
Interposition Arthroplasty of the Elbow
When a patient needs a joint replacement of the elbow, but is not a candidate, the surgeon can perform an interposition arthroplasty. With this procedure, a portion of the patient’s own tissue (or donor tissue) is placed between the ends of the joint bones. This stops abrasive rubbing of bone against pain to offer pain relief.
A synovectomy is a surgery for patients with rheumatoid arthritis or another form of inflammatory arthritis. When the patient does not respond to usual treatment options, the doctor may choose to remove the swollen, inflamed synovial tissue surrounding the elbow joint. Inflamed synovial tissue is the cause of pain for many patients with inflammatory arthritis.
To remove damaged cartilage, bone chips, and bone spurs, the doctor may choose to perform a debridement. With this arthroscopic procedure, the degenerated, deformed bone ends are often shaved and re-contoured. Most surgeons perform this procedure using an arthroscope, which is a small, lighted camera that is inserted into the joint.
Surgery for Tennis Elbow
When a patient has tennis elbow, and experiences excruciating pain that does not improve after 6 months, surgery is an option. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis using regional or local anesthesia. With only one small incision, the surgeon removes the damaged part of the tendon and reattaches the remaining healthy tissue to the bone.
A compressed ulnar nerve can cause pain and limit elbow joint function. Called ulnar nerve entrapment, the nerve must be repositioned to alleviate pressure. The various techniques for this surgery include the anterior transposition (moving the nerve from back to front of the joint), submuscular transposition (repositioning the nerve beneath muscle), and intermuscular transposition (repositioning the nerve inside the muscle).
Tommy John Surgery
Tommy John was a major league pitcher who suffered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). An orthopedic surgeon replaced John’s torn ligament with a piece of tendon. Ulnar collateral ligament surgery using a graft is now called Tommy John surgery. Injury to the UCL is common among baseball pitchers.
Arthroscopic Elbow Surgery
Arthroscope elbow surgery is used to treat degenerative conditions and elbow injuries. With this technique, the surgeon makes 2-3 small incisions, and inserts a small, lighted camera (arthroscope) through one of the incisions to view the damaged tendons, cartilage, and structures. Necessary repairs are made using small tools. Arthroscopy has fewer complications and quicker recovery than open surgery. Common arthroscopic procedures include:
- Debridement (removal of loose bone fragments and cartilage)
- Treatment of lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
- Release of scar tissue
- Treatment of osteochondritis dissecans
One of the top elbow surgeons in Phoenix metro is Dr. Adam Farber. He is Board Certified and Fellowship Trained in Sports Medicine and offers minimally invasive procedures. Most insurance is accepted, call today!