What Happens During Elbow Arthroscopy Surgery?
The surgeon fills the elbow joint with saline so that the structures inside the elbow can be seen clearly on the screen. This helps reduces the risk of damaging other nerves and blood vessels. Then, small incisions are made to insert the arthroscope, a tool with a small camera on the end, and other surgical instruments into the joint. By using this minimally invasive approach, the surgeon limits tissue damage, lessens pain and aides an overall faster recovery. Images from the arthroscope are displayed in real time on a screen to help the surgeon navigate the internal structures of the joint.
The surgeon evaluates the joint before starting any treatment. After the evaluation, the surgeon performs the required repair procedure using the miniature surgical tools. Later, incisions are closed using skin tapes, or sutures and the elbow is supported with a sling or a plaster splint.
What does recovery from Elbow Surgery look like?
After the surgery, you will be asked to stay in the recovery room for a couple of hours before being discharged from the facility. Our nurses will monitor your recovery and provide some pain medications. You will be given discharge instructions including medications, rest, icing as well as care of the surgical site. As you won’t be able to drive, you should come with a family member or a friend who can drive you back home and stay with you for at least one night.
You may experience some pain and discomfort for 1-2 weeks after the surgery. You should continue taking pain and anti-inflammatory medications as prescribed by your doctor. Also, you will need to ice and elevate your elbow regularly for the initial 1-2 days. This will help in reducing the swelling and quicken the recovery. You will be advised to perform easy exercises to prevent joint stiffness. Usually, the dressing and splint are removed 2-3 days post-surgery. It generally takes a few weeks for your elbow joint to recover completely. Your doctor will recommend physical therapy after the first postoperative visit to improve the movement and strengthen the elbow.