Why Is Elbow Surgery Important?
Generally speaking, elbow injuries are nothing to laugh about. They are as common as rotator cuff tears and carpal tunnel syndrome. The elbow is a very important joint that is held together by ligaments, muscles, and tendons. It functions to flex and extend the arm and rotate the hand, allowing us to properly and accurately position our hand in space. Any damage to the elbow may prevent this function and impart significant disability to our day-to-day activities.
Elbow Injury Causes
Overuse injuries of the elbow give rise to common conditions including bursitis and tendonitis. While the most common inflammation of the elbow tendons is dubbed 'tennis elbow', tennis players are far from being alone in suffering from it. Golfers, drummers, and anyone whose occupation involves repeated elbow movements are prone to it. Treatment options for tennis elbow are plentiful and include a multitude of options, including physical therapy, injections like cortisone or PRP, shockwave therapy, and ultimately minimally invasive surgery if necessary. The expert elbow surgeons at AOHSI , Drs. Ramin Ghobadi and Peter DeNoble will help tailor your treatment to what is best in your situation.
Elbow Fractures and Dislocations
Falls and contact sports are also often responsible for injuries to the elbow like fractures and dislocations. The three bones of the arm–humerus, radius and ulna–meet at the elbow. If you fall on your arm you could break any of these bones. These bones stay in place by ligaments and muscle attachments, and if your elbow dislocates, you have probably torn several of these structures. Careful early management is very important to prevent elbow stiffness or instability, which often result in unfortunate elbow injuries. Bracing and therapy are the mainstays of treatment, and we only recommend surgery when necessary to prevent elbow problems in the future.
Can Elbow Surgery Help Treat Nerve Pain?
Ulnar nerve compression at the elbow (also known as
cubital tunnel syndrome) is the most common nerve-related reason for numbness and electricity-type pain shooting into the ring and small fingers. This can also be accompanied by loss of hand strength, causing weakness with daily activities like opening jars and turning keys. These symptoms can develop over the course of weeks to months without a specific cause. Often you will wake up at night with numbness and pain, particularly made worse with flexion of the elbow. As the nerve compression persists, weakness of the hand may worsen, and thinning of the muscles may progress. If left untreated, the weakness is often irreversible. If you have any pain or tingling sensations or weakness in your hand, it is best to be evaluated by the experienced elbow surgeons at AOHSI.
Elbow Surgery Preparation
You may need blood work and clearance from your medical doctor to undergo anesthesia. Unless your surgeon specifically advises you, no preparations are usually necessary.
How Long Will the Procedure Last?
Elbow surgery procedures generally last about 45 minutes to an hour long.
Elbow Surgery Recovery
You will need to be in a soft dressing or splint for 5 days. Shortly after 5 days, you will remove the dressing and begin range of motion. After two weeks post op, you will come to the office for suture removal.
Will I Need Physical Therapy After Elbow Surgery?
Generally, there is no need for physical therapy. Although, there are always exceptions if a certain patient is apprehensive or has difficulty regaining full range of motion.
Elbow Surgery Risks
As with any surgery, there are risks, but they are generally low for this type of procedure.