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Elbow Procedures

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Orthopedics Help Heal Elbow Disorders

Even though the elbow seems like a small joint with only a few connected bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and nerves, elbow pain can be a big problem. To effectively diagnose any elbow disorders, look for a physician with expert knowledge of the musculoskeletal system. For example, orthopedic doctors at Baylor Scott & White Orthopedic and Spine Hospital – Arlington offer a wide range of nonsurgical elbow pain treatments, as well as minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery and traditional open elbow surgery.

Simple Solutions Ease Elbow Pain

Usually, orthopedic surgery will not be prescribed when elbow pain can be cared for with straightforward options such as rest, splints, braces, physical therapy, pain management, steroid injections, and medication. Advanced diagnostic imaging tools such as electromyography tests and nerve conduction studies help measure the extent of the damage in and around the elbow.

For more complex elbow conditions or elbow injuries, your orthopedic surgeon may offer additional treatments such as:

  • Open elbow surgery
  • Arthroscopic surgery
  • Olecranon bursa aspiration
  • Cubital tunnel release
  • Radial tunnel release
  • Ulnar nerve transposition

Arthroscopy Aids Diagnosis and Treatment

One of the most effective and widely used elbow procedures today involves arthroscopy, which allows an orthopedic surgeon to view inside the elbow joint and surrounding tissues. With a tiny camera inserted into a small incision, the doctor can properly evaluate the condition of the elbow.

Once diagnosed, the ortho doctor may recommend endoscopic surgery (also guided with the arthroscope) to repair torn ligaments, remove bone fragments, clear loose cartilage, reduce scar tissue and provide relief for osteoarthritic conditions.

Consider All Elbow Procedures

To reduce the pressure on the pinched ulnar nerve, ligaments can be moved to open up the space around the nerve using cubital tunnel release or radial tunnel release surgery. Another option is ulnar nerve transposition, which repositions the nerve on a path around the bony ridge above the elbow.

The procedure to remove excess fluid from the elbow to relieve olecranon bursitis calls for X-rays to detect any bone spurs or loose pieces of bone/cartilage. Then a needle draws off fluid from around the inflamed bursa sac in the elbow joint. If the needle aspiration is not helpful over several months, the orthopedic specialist may need to remove the bursa with a variety of techniques.

Depending on the individual diagnosis and surgical risk factors, a specialist in sports medicine and orthopedic surgery may recommend open surgery or a minimally invasive surgery such as arthroscopy for the elbow. For example, open surgery may be indicated in cases where bones from a fractured elbow have moved or broken the skin. To set the bone back in place, the elbow surgeon uses pins, wires, screws, plates, sutures, and/or staples. In severe cases, the radial head may need to be replaced with an artificial elbow joint.

Make Smart Decisions About Elbow Treatment

To understand exactly what is causing your elbow pain, seek the best diagnostic tools, medical facilities, and knowledgeable physicians. Baylor Scott & White – Arlington provides convenient local access to physicians who are uniquely qualified to treat sports injuries and orthopedic conditions related to the elbow. Call 855-41-ORTHO for an appointment with an elbow specialist.