An arthroscopy of the elbow allows your surgeon to diagnose and treat problems affecting the joint, without the need for a large cut in the skin. This may reduce the amount of pain you feel and speed up your recovery after surgery.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Problems inside a joint can often be diagnosed using tests such as CT and MRI scans. However, you may then need an arthroscopy to treat the problem.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes about half an hour.

Your surgeon will usually make about two to four small cuts around the joint. They will place a small telescope through one of the cuts so they can examine the joint. They will place surgical instruments through the other cuts if they need to treat any problems with the joint (see figure 1).

What complications can happen?

General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Unsightly scarring

Specific complications

  • Bleeding into the joint
  • Infection in the joint
  • Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of the arm and hand (complex regional pain syndrome)
  • Damage to nerves
  • Damage to the radial nerve

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As a private patient at The Horder Centre you can get faster access to the very best orthopaedic consultants.

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The operation and treatment information on this webpage is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by the Horder Centre. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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