Elbow Arthroscopy

This page will provide you with information about having an elbow arthroscopy. For further details, please speak to your consultant.

The elbow

The elbow is a complex joint consisting of three bones: the humerus, radius and ulna. The joint acts as a hinge that allows you to move the hand away from your body, as well as allowing you to rotate your forearm. Muscles surrounding the elbow joint move the elbow as well as the wrist and fingers.

Overuse, injury and age are the three main reasons for pain within the elbow.

What is an elbow arthroscopy?

Elbow arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that helps surgeons to inspect, diagnose and treat any issues within the elbow joint.

When is an elbow arthroscopy recommended?

Some conditions within the elbow joint can be treated by non-surgical means, such as through medication or physiotherapy. However, in severe cases where this treatment is not effective, surgical intervention is necessary.

The most common procedures include treatment for tennis elbow, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as the removal of loose bone fragments, cartilage and release of scar tissue.

What will happen during the procedure?

Before an elbow arthroscopy, the majority of people are given a general anaesthetic. Surgeons will then make several small incisions into the joint so that all areas can be inspected. A small camera (arthroscope) will then be inserted into the elbow to guide your doctors, who will operate on the affected area with small, specialized operating instruments. The exact nature of the operation will entirely depend on your specific condition, which will be discussed prior in a consultation with your doctor or other healthcare professional.

Risks and complications

Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

Some of the benefits of elbow arthroscopy include:

  • Same day release from hospital (in most cases)
  • No pain during the procedure due to anaesthetic
  • Expect to return to driving with 1-2 weeks
  • You will not need a sling beyond 1-2 days

This page is intended for informational purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.