Are you suffering from elbow pain? Have you tried nonsurgical treatments, but still haven’t found the desired results? Some individuals find that minimally invasive elbow surgery finally gives them a chance to live a pain-free life.
Many people don’t realize how crucial the elbow joint is for everyday functioning until they start to experience problems. Let’s take a look at your elbow and why it might be causing your discomfort.
The elbow is a combination hinge and pivot joint that connects your upper arm to your lower arm. Three bones meet at this joint. Your upper arm bone (or humerus) connects with your two lower arm bones (the ulna and radius). Collateral ligaments hold the bones together. In addition, a series of muscles, tendons, and nerves criss-cross at the elbow.
The elbow joint allows the arm to flex and extend. In addition, it enables the rotation of the forearm and wrist. Activities like throwing, picking up objects, and even getting dressed involve the elbow joint.
Repetitive stress, sports activities, falls, and conditions like arthritis can all cause elbow pain. In fact, even poor posture while sitting at a desk or using a computer may put added stress on the elbow.
In most cases, an orthopedic surgeon conducts an elbow arthroscopy while you are under general anesthesia. This means that you are asleep during the procedure. The surgeon puts you in the position that will give him or her the best access to your elbow. In addition, the surgeon usually draws lines on the arms to indicate nerves and bones as well as incision sites.
Prior to the incision, you will receive intravenous antibiotics to reduce your risk of infection after the procedure. Your surgeon will also fill the elbow joint up with a saline solution. This allows the surgeon to take a better look at your elbow and reduces the risk of injury to nearby nerves and blood vessels.
Next, your surgeon will make a series of small incisions to allow for entry of the arthroscope (a tiny camera) and other small instruments. In most cases, the incisions are only an inch or two in length. Images from the arthroscope are projected onto a nearby screen as the surgeon works on the area. The surgeon then evaluates the elbow and decides the best treatment options for you.
During the surgery, several key procedures may be used to repair your elbow. For example, your surgeon may remove bone fragments, known as loose bodies. Furthermore, those with osteoarthritis may undergo an arthroscopic debridement to remove any bony growths or initiate articular cartilage repair. The small instruments employed by your doctor also allow for the repair of tennis elbow and other similar conditions.
Once the elbow arthroscopy is complete, the surgeon stitches or covers the incisions. He or she will also apply dressings to the area. Depending on the type of procedure, an elbow splint may also be used to restrict movement so that the area heals more quickly.
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In the past, treating elbow conditions usually required the surgeon to use large incisions to access the elbow joint. Recent technology allows orthopedic doctors to perform elbow surgery with smaller incision sizes and less damage to surrounding tissues.
During a minimally invasive elbow arthroscopy, surgeons can treat your elbow condition using a tiny camera known as an arthroscope. The precision of this technique has many advantages over traditional methods, including:
After your surgery, you will usually spend an hour or two in the recovery room. Once the general anesthesia wears off, you will receive detailed instructions on how to care for your wounds. You will need to schedule a ride home, and most likely, someone to help you out for a day or two.
As with most operations, you can expect to experience some pain after surgery. Your doctor will prescribe pain medications and discuss other ways that you can remain comfortable. For example, you may be asked to elevate and ice your elbow for a couple of days after surgery.
While the recovery time is usually faster than if you had an open surgery, you can still expect it to take a few weeks before the elbow fully recovers. This depends on your body’s ability to heal and the type of procedure performed. Rehabilitation, like a specialized exercise program and physical therapy, will permit you to ease you back into your daily activities. Exercises also help to restore strength, flexibility, and range of motion to your elbow.
Your doctor will periodically check the area and make sure no complications develop. While complications are rare, they often include infection, nerve irritation, or blood clots when they do occur.
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Typically, an elbow arthroscopy is recommended for those who haven’t responded to more conservative treatments for elbow pain. This includes resting the area, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy.
Of course, properly diagnosing your elbow condition is key to knowing if an elbow arthroscopy is appropriate for you. Your orthopedic surgeon will take the time to listen to your symptoms, review your medical history, and discuss your activity level and previous injuries. A complete physical examination will also give your orthopedic surgeon insight into what’s causing your elbow pain. In some cases, imaging techniques like x-rays or an MRI will also help with diagnosing your condition.
So where can you find help for your elbow pain? NJ Spine & Orthopedic has a dedicated team of professionals who can diagnose your elbow problems and suggest the most appropriate treatments. Depending on your condition, we may find effective ways to treat your condition without resorting to surgery.
If minimally invasive surgery is your best option, then you can take comfort in knowing that our doctors have decades of experience in treating all sorts of orthopedic issues. Using the latest minimally invasive technology, we will help you recover faster and with less pain.
Isn’t it finally time that you started enjoying a pain-free life once again? A simple call to (855) 586-2615 is all that it takes to put you in touch with a team of caring professionals who are invested in your recovery. Call our elbow doctors today and get your life back from chronic joint pain!
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