A thin camera (arthroscope) is used to look inside the elbow joint and the picture is seen on a TV screen. The arthroscope is placed inside the joint through a small
incision. Fluid is gently pumped into the joint to fill the space and make it easier to see. Tools are passed through 2 or 3 more small cuts and watched within the joint with the arthroscope. These tools are used to smooth bone spurs and remove loose bone or damaged tissue. At the end of the surgery the elbow is washed out with fluid and bleeding controlled. The incisions are closed with stitches and a bandage is applied.
After the surgery, your elbow will be swollen and painful. You will be given painkillers and an ice pack to help ease the pain. Fluid usually leaks from the wounds after surgery and a large bandage is used to collect it.
Usually you will need to stay in hospital overnight but you can go home the next day.
The next morning I will discuss the results of the surgery with you. A physiotherapist will see you in the hospital and tell you which exercises and activities are allowed.
It is normal to have pain after surgery and painkillers will be given to you to take home. Your pain will slowly reduce over time.
You can remove your bulky bandages after 3 days but leave the sticky dressing intact. Following this, you can shower but you must dry the wounds carefully. You can drive if you feel well enough.
An appointment will have already been made for you to see me in 10 to 14 days.
Please contact my office if you have:
- Severe pain not helped by the tablets you have been given
- Redness or swelling around the wounds
- Fever, sweats and chills
Like all surgery, elbow arthroscopy does have some risks. Most of these risks are very rare (less than one patient in 100). These risks include:
- Nerve injury
Sometimes the problem seen at the arthroscopy cannot be treated with the arthroscope and further surgery may be required at another time.
An anaesthetic will be needed for your surgery. The anaesthetist will discuss this with you prior to your arthroscopy.
If you have any questions please contact my office on 9419 2551 or ask me in hospital when I see you prior to your operation.