The elbow joint is a synovial hinged joint where the upper arm bone (humerus) meets the two forearm bones (ulna and radius). The main stabilizing structure of the elbow joint is the ligament along the inner aspect of the elbow (medial collateralligament.)The elbow joint and the superior radioulnar joint are enclosed by a single fibrous capsule.
Indications for the surgery
One of the most common reasons of the elbow joint arthroscopic surgery is small loose fragments of cartilage or bone (loose bodies) in the joint that can be painful and make it hard to move the elbow. Loose bodies are removed during arthroscopy. After the surgery a patient immediately feels increased range of motion of the elbow joint.
Loose bodies in the elbow joint
VIDEO: Contracture of the elbow joint
VIDEO: Loose bodies in the elbow joint
These CT pictures show loose bodies in the anterior and posterior parts of the elbow joint
VIDEO: Removal of loose bodies from the posterior part of the elbow joint
Another rather common pathology is arthritis of the elbow joint that not just inflicts severe pain but also limits the range of joint motion (patients have difficulty combing hair, reaching upward). In this case, bone spurs (osteophytes)that mechanically hinder the elbow motions are removed during the arthroscopy and synovectomy (surgical removal of inflamed joint tissue) is performed.
Arthritis of the elbow joint, loose bodies
VIDEO: Loose bodies removed during arthroscopy, surgical resection of coronoid process is performed thereby making more room for the range of motions
Rarer forms of pathologies:
- dissecting osteochondritis
- rheumatoid arthritis
- tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
The surgery is performed through two small ~1cm incisions. Next day after the surgery a patient is discharged from the hospital for further outpatient treatment; the surgery restores full range of motions of the elbow joint; active recovery period starts after 2 weeks after the surgery.