Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Learn How A Long Island Orthopedic Surgeon Alleviates Elbow Pain With Arthroscopy

By Cody Rine

In the majority of cases, elbow pain can be resolved over time with anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and rest. Surgery may be recommended as a last resort when an injury or disease is causing severe and persistent pain, swelling and stiffness. Long Island orthopedic surgeons use a minimally invasive procedure called arthroscopy to repair problems inside the elbow.

An arthroscope is a tiny camera that is inserted into a joint. It displays images on a video monitor which the surgeon uses to guide miniature surgical instruments. Arthroscopy has many advantages over traditional open surgery. Because only very small incisions are needed, pain, tissue trauma and scarring are reduced, and recovery time is shorter.

Arthroscopy can relieve the painful symptoms of a range of elbow disorders including osteochondritis dissecans, tennis elbow, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It can be used to remove chips of cartilage or cut away bone spurs. The procedure can also detach damaged tissue that is impairing movement or causing pain.

Arthroscopy is usually an outpatient procedure and does not require an overnight stay at the hospital. It is performed under general anesthesia. Following surgery, the small incisions are stitched or covered with skin tapes and a dressing or splint is applied to the elbow. Patients are typically discharged from the recovery room within two hours.

If the surgery involves a minor repair, patients are often able to return to work within a few days. Function and range of motion will be restored after two to three weeks. For complex procedures, full recovery can take several months.

People who develop chronic elbow pain should be assessed by their general practitioner. Doctors may refer elbow patients to Long Island orthopedic surgeons if all non-invasive options have been unsuccessful. Arthroscopy has a relatively low risk of complications, but it can result in nerve damage, blood clots or infection.

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