Orthopedic Surgery

Surgical Procedures Related to the Elbow

This is a minimally invasive procedure in which a tiny camera is inserted into the elbow joint in order to diagnose and treat conditions including tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), arthritis, and osteochondritis dissecans. It is also used to remove loose cartilage and bone fragments, and release scar tissue to improve range of motion.

More advanced surgeries may combine arthroscopic and open procedures in the same setting, such as severe cases of osteochondritis dissecans, sports-related damage to the capitellum portion of the humerus. A loose piece of bone can be removed arthroscopically, and the damaged area of the humerus may be treated with a bone graft using an open surgical technique.

These are two minimally invasive approaches for the repair of injured and immobile elbows. The goal of elbow replacement arthroplasty is to restore functional mechanics to the joint by removing scar tissue, balancing muscles, and inserting a joint replacement in the place of the damaged elbow. The artificial elbow joint is made of a metal and plastic hinge with two metal stems. During the procedure, one part of the artificial joint is fixed to the inside of the arm bone and the other part to the inside of the ulna, one of the forearm bones. The two parts are then connected using a hinge pin that provides stability to the joint.

Joint replacement of the elbow may be unconstrained (joint resurfacing) or constrained (hinged). For the treatment of severe rheumatoid arthritis of the elbow, the constrained joint replacement is often preferred because it offers stability to the joint and is not dependent on ligaments, which may be weakened by the arthritis.

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