Elbow Arthroscopy Overview
Minimally Invasive Elbow Surgery
Elbow arthroscopy has been used for many years to inspect, diagnose and repair elbow injuries and degenerative conditions within the joint. This minimally invasive elbow surgery requires Dr. Brian Waterman to insert a small camera into the joint and use special surgical instruments to repair the damage. The camera, otherwise known as an arthroscope, allows Dr. Waterman to inspect the damaged area and reach a definite diagnosis. Once the elbow injury is diagnosed, Dr. Waterman will use special surgical instruments placed into the joint to repair damaged tendons and cartilage and remove any loose bodies.
Elbow arthroscopy allows a patient to recover more quickly with less post-operative pain and complications in most cases. Generally performed on an out-patient basis under general anesthesia, this elbow surgery technique is highly effective at treating a number of elbow injuries that did not respond well to non-operative measures such as rest, ice and physical therapy.
Arthroscopic elbow surgery is used to treat a variety of elbow injuries, including:
- Ligament and/or tendon tears
- Elbow arthritis
- Loose bodies
- Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
Recovery and Rehabilitation after Elbow Arthroscopy
Recovery from elbow arthroscopy is much quicker than an open surgery technique, but certain rehabilitation protocols must be followed so the elbow joint has time to fully recover. It is very important to follow all rehabilitation guidelines provided by Dr. Waterman and his team following elbow surgery.
Many patients will experience elbow discomfort and swelling up to a week after the procedure. Dr. Waterman typically recommends patients apply ice packs to the affected elbow to minimize pain and swelling. Pain medications may be prescribed and patients are expected to follow dosage guidelines at all times.
Physical therapy is generally started immediately following elbow arthroscopy since motion recovery is key to a full and successful recovery. Dr. Waterman will provide a physical therapy program to all patients to help strengthen the elbow joint and surrounding structures.
At a Glance
Dr. Brian Waterman, MD
- Chief & Fellowship Director, Sports Medicine, Wake Forest
- Team Physician, Wake Forest University, Chicago White Sox
- Military affiliation/Decorated military officer and surgeon
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