What is the success rate of elbow arthroscopy?

What is the success rate of elbow arthroscopy?


Elbow arthroscopy is a technique used to diagnose and treat problems within the elbow joint. Healthcare providers can use arthroscopy to visualize the elbow anatomy in great detail. Elbow arthroscopy procedures can also ease symptoms and restore elbow function while requiring fewer incisions, less pain and faster recovery than traditional (open) surgery.

The success rate of elbow arthroscopy depends upon the severity of the injury, symptoms you experienced, duration of the symptoms, and the patient's health status. 

What Is An Elbow Fracture?

An elbow fracture is a fracture at the tip of the elbow occurring as a result of trauma such as a direct blow, falling on the elbow or falling on an outstretched hand. Elbow fractures are quite common and are especially seen in children. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons estimates that around 10% of all bone fractures affecting children are elbow fractures.

What Are The Symptoms of Elbow Fractures?

The following are the symptoms associated with elbow fracture:

  • Swelling around the elbow joint
  • Stiffness in elbow joint
  • Intense, sudden pain and visible deformity at the fracture site
  • Numbness or weakness in the hand or fingers
  • Bruising near the elbow or am
  • Feeling pain while rotating your arms
  • Tender on touch
  • Feeling like your elbow is going to ‘pop out’ of the joint

How To Diagnose Elbow Fractures?

Your healthcare professional will ask for a detailed history regarding the symptoms and duration of symptoms you are experiencing. They will conduct a physical examination to check tenderness on touch, check the skin for any cuts or incisions from bone fragments, check the pulse at your wrist to assess the blood flow and they will check the extent of motion. In addition to this, your doctor will ask you to perform certain diagnostic tests such as:

  • X-rays
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Schans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scans
  • Elbow Ultrasound

How Are The Elbow Fractures Treated:

The treatment for elbow fractures depends upon the severity of the injury and the symptoms you are experiencing. Following are the ways to manage elbow fractures:

  • Non-surgical management
  • Surgical management 

Non-Surgical Treatment:

Non-surgical treatment is chosen for the management of a stable non-displaced fracture(bone is broken but it is still in the correct position). The following are the non-surgical treatment methods:

  • Take adequate rest
  • Elevate your arm
  • Immobilization of the elbow using a sling, cast, or brace
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications like over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and inflammation

Surgical Treatment:

Surgical treatment is preferred for the management of displaced fractures(Bone has moved out of place). In these types of injuries, surgery is required to keep the bone back in position and to promote healing. The following are the surgical methods:

  • Open reduction and internal fixation(ORIF): It is used for the stabilization and replacement of a broken bone. During this surgery, your doctor will make an incision in your arm to realign the fractured bone. To hold the bones in place while they are healing, your doctor will use screws, wires or plates.
  • Total elbow replacement: It is preferred in conditions where the joint damage is severe. In this procedure, your doctor will replace the damaged elbow joint with an artificial joint.
  • Radial head replacement: In this type of surgery, damaged radial head bone is replaced with an artificial joint. It is indicated in conditions where the radial head of the bone is fractured into too many pieces.
  • Ulnar nerve transposition: Ulnar nerve injury may be caused as a result of elbow fracture. In these cases, the nerve needs to be repositioned to relieve pressure on the nerve.

How Long Does A Fractured Elbow Take To Repair?

The recovery of elbow fractures depends on the extent of the injury. Most elbow fractures require a cast or splint for at least three to six weeks. Many people can return to normal activities in approximately four months, although full healing can take a year or more.

What Is An Elbow Arthroscopy?

Elbow arthroscopy is a technique used to diagnose and treat problems within the elbow joint. Healthcare providers can use arthroscopy to visualize the elbow anatomy in great detail. An elbow arthroscopy helps to treat certain elbow conditions (like infections, synovitis, osteoarthritis, loose bone and cartilage, permanently tensed muscles, rheumatoid arthritis, and adhesions) and elbow injuries (like elbow dislocations, elbow fractures, Pitcher’s elbow, and Tennis elbow).

How Does Elbow Arthroscopy Help To Treat Conditions?

Elbow arthroscopy helps to heal elbow fractures and inflammations as well as to improve mobility.

Following are the conditions in which your surgeon may recommend elbow arthroscopy:

  • Remove the loose bone and cartilage
  • Smoothen the bone surfaces that are in contact with others
  • Remove unhealthy tissue or tissue that blocks or limits  motion (adhesion)
  • To release tensed muscles(contractures)

Elbow Arthroscopy-Procedure:

The following are the steps in the elbow arthroscopy procedure:

  • You will be asked to lie on your stomach
  • Your surgeon will give you anesthesia
  • The doctor will fill the damaged elbow joint with saline solution to improve visibility and limit risk to surrounding tissue, blood vessels, and nerves
  • Tiny incisions are made in the affected areas and an arthroscope is inserted
  • The arthroscope displays the structures within the elbow on a connected video screen that helps the surgeon to locate the site of injury and to perform the procedures
  • After the procedure, the surgeon will close the incisions and a bandage is placed

What Is The Success Rate Of Elbow Arthroscopy?

If the motivation for the treatment is correct and the surgeon is knowledgeable in elbow arthroscopy, the procedure is highly successful. Almost all patients will see a clear benefit after surgery.
The most successful arthroscopic intervention for the elbow is the removal of isolated loose bodies, which has an 89% success rate.


Elbow arthroscopy is a safe, effective way for healthcare providers to examine the joint and surrounding tissue. It helps in the management of less severe elbow fractures. Surgeons also utilize elbow arthroscopy to ease symptoms and restore elbow function. As it is a minimally invasive procedure that requires fewer incisions, you have an easier recovery, so you can get back to work and play faster.
Experience personalized care in joint restoration from Dr ISHWAR Bohra, a senior orthopedic surgeon in Delhi. Book your consultation today.


Q: Is elbow arthroscopy painful?

A: Depending on the extent of your surgery, you may experience pain for a few weeks afterwards, which can be relieved by taking painkillers. applying ice packs, elevating the arm, and taking adequate rest will help you to control pain and swelling.

Q: Can I lift weights after elbow surgery?

A: Your doctor may advise you not to lift anything heavier than one pound for the first twelve weeks, and that you avoid lifting anything heavier than five pounds after recovery. You may also need to wear the sling every night for at least the first month. You will most likely need to avoid contact sports following surgery.

Q: Does an elbow fracture pain on touch?

A: The fractured elbow causes tenderness, discomfort, or numbness to the touch. The elbow may feel tight and rigid. It would be tough to extend and rotate the elbow.


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