What is an elbow arthroscopy or debridement?

An elbow arthroscopy is a common surgical procedure used to view the structures within the elbow joint. This minimally invasive surgical approach inserts a small camera (arthroscope) and specialized surgical instruments through small incisions to repair the damaged structures within and around the elbow joint. Patients that elect for an elbow arthroscopy can expect a reduced risk of infection and blood loss, as well as decreased pain and inflammation following the procedure. Dr. Answorth A. Allen, orthopedic elbow surgeon, treats patients in Manhattan, New York City, Westchester, Long Island and surrounding areas who are in need of an elbow arthroscopy.

Elbow Arthroscopy | Manhattan NY

What happens during an elbow arthroscopy?

Most arthroscopic elbow surgeries are completed as an outpatient procedure as the recovery period does not warrant an overnight hospital stay. Prior to the procedure, the patient is placed under a local anesthesia block. It is important that the patient is placed in a prone position to enable the arthroscope (small camera) to be easily adjusted. To begin, Dr. Allen will make some small incisions surrounding the elbow and a sterile solution is introduced to allow better visualization of the structures within the elbow joint. The arthroscope is then inserted and the images are transmitted to a screen for Dr. Allen to examine the joint space, muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the elbow joint. Depending on the intra-operative findings by Dr. Allen, specialized surgical instruments may be utilized to remove any loose bodies or chondral fragments within the elbow joint. Once the below joint is clear of loose bodies, the arthroscope and surgical instruments are removed, and small sutures or steri-strips are applied to close the incisions.

What is the recovery period like after arthroscopic elbow surgery?

Due to the minimally invasive nature of an elbow arthroscopy, patients are likely to experience a faster recovery time; however, it still takes the same amount of time for the bones, tendons, and ligaments to heal. It is crucial to follow the post-operative care instructions provided by Dr. Allen following a successful elbow arthroscopy. In general, patients in New York can expect the following:

  • Pain, bruising, swelling, and discomfort are normal in the week following an arthroscopic procedure. Ice pack application is important for the first 48 hours, although numerous patients continue using the ice packs for pain management.
  • A sling, splint, or other device is used to immobilize the elbow.
  • Patients are encouraged to take pain medications as prescribed.
  • The surgical dressing applied following arthroscopy will need to be kept clean and dry. Dr. Allen will provide the instructions for changing the dressing and how often.
  • Adhering to and completing a physical rehabilitation program is the key to arthroscopic elbow surgery success. Dr. Allen will make his recommendations for the timing of physical therapy based on his intra-operative findings.

Complex Elbow Surgeon

Have you sustained a recent injury to the elbow resulting in pain, reduced range of motion, or instability? If so, you may benefit from elbow arthroscopy. This is a minimally invasive procedure used to repair damage and injury in the elbow joint. This surgery is often recommended because it allows for a faster recovery time. Elbow specialist Doctor Answorth Allen provides diagnosis and surgical treatment for patients in Manhattan, New York City, Westchester, Long Island and surrounding areas with elbow injuries. Contact Dr. Allen’s team today!