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Common Conditions that Require Elbow Arthroscopy

  • Elbow Contractures- commonly known as elbow stiffness.  Joint contractures commonly result from trauma/injury, often with damage to the ligaments or fractures of the bone.  The result is a limitation of elbow bending or straightening, motion, and pain.  Arthroscopy can help by releasing tight structures and scar tissue, usually significantly improving movement.
  • Elbow Debridement for Loose Bodies- Loose bodies are fragments of bone and/or cartilage that break free within the joint.  There are multiple potential causes of loose bodies.  These fragments can move or float within the joint causing pain, popping, and clicking and sometimes locking symptoms.  Arthroscopy can safely remove these fragments.
  • Elbow Arthritis- Arthritis in the elbow is usually osteoarthritis, or wear and tear arthritis. This problem leads to cartilage thinning and bone spur formation.  Over time the bone spurs grow and begin to block movement leading to stiffness and pain.  Occasionally bone spurs break off forming loose bodies.  Arthroscopy can help patients  with osteoarthritis by removing bone spurs and loose bodies and releasing scar tissue.
  • Lateral Epicondylitis- This condition, commonly known as tennis elbow is a painful tendonitis of the group of muscles on the outer part of the elbow.  If nonoperative treatment fails, arthroscopy can be helpful to debride or remove damaged tendon and help stimulate healing.
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans- This condition sometimes called OCD for short, has to do with lack of blood supply to the one region of the humerus bone call the capitellum.  This problem usually develops in older children and teenagers, especially those that participate in throwing sports or sports with upper body weight bearing.  In some cases, a region of the bone will die and begin to collapse or crumble.  Arthroscopy can effectively remove or debride these lesions and in some cases stimulate healing.

NEXT TOPIC:  Preoperative Planning

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