Elbow arthroscopy

What is an elbow arthroscopy?

Elbow arthroscopy is better known as "keyhole surgery" and allows your surgeon to look inside your elbow through a camera inserted through a small cut in the skin. This allows a diagnosis and treatment of any problems using special designed surgical instruments - often at the same time.

What does this involve?

Elbow arthroscopy is usually done as a day case under general anaesthetic and takes around 30 minutes.

Your surgeon will use a small frame to support your arm and will inject fluid into the joint to help them perform the operation. You will usually have a tourniquet (tight strap) around your arm to reduce the risk of bleeding.

Your surgeon will usually make two to four small cuts about half a centimetre long around the elbow. A small camera will be inserted through one or more ofthe cuts and examine the inside of your elbow. Your surgeon should be able to treat any problems without needing to make a larger cut and close the skin with stitches or sticky strips.

When will I recover?

As you are admitted as a day case, you would normally be able to go home on the same day. During your elbow surgery recovery time, you will have a bandage on your elbow for two to three days, and it is common for the elbow to feel slightly swollen for a few weeks. You may need painkillers and your physiotherapist will give you some exercises to help you get back to normal living. You may need to take a week off work and driving.