STEMCELL blog

Elbow surgery and recommendations

Elbow surgery has been performed since the 1980’s. It has made identification of the problem, treatment and rehabilitation from surgery painless and quick, which was once considered impossible, improvements to elbow surgery are done every year as devices and methodology are developed

Anatomy of the elbow

The elbow is a complicated joint assembled by the joining of three bones;

  • The upper arm bone
  • Forearm bone on the pinky finger side
  • Forearm bone on the thumb side

The exterior of the bones where they connect to assemble the elbow joint, are covered with articular cartilage, a soft smooth material that protects the bones and performs as a  natural cushion to govern the friction caused by the movement in the joints, another thin and slippery layer called the synovial membrane covers the remaining part of the elbow joint, in a good conditioned elbow this membrane produces a small amount of fluid that helps in lubricating the cartilage and minimizes the friction as you move and bend your arm

In the interiors and exteriors of the elbow joint there are thicker ligaments called the collateral ligaments that hold the elbow joints together and prevent from dislocation

The rest of the elbow joint is encircled with muscles and tendons on the front and back side, additionally, the three major nerves that passes the elbow joint are placed close to the elbow joint and must be taken care of during the elbow surgery

The elbow joint facilitates two basic functions, bending and extending and  the forearm rotation

Normal bending and the extending action happens by  connecting the ulna and the radius and is also supported by muscles and tendons passing down the forearm and the wrist joint

When Elbow surgery is recommended

The physician might recommend elbow surgery if you have a chronic elbow pain that does not respond to any traditional  and non surgical treatments, the treatments may include rest, physical therapy, pain killers and steroid injections that reduce inflammation and swelling

Sudden injuries and overuse or other age related problems may result in painful elbow joints and problems, elbow surgery may relieve pain related conditions and other problems that damage the cartilage exterior and other soft tissues encircling the joint

Elbow surgery is also recommended to extract loose pieces of the bone and cartilage, or clear away scar tissues that are blocking the movement

Common elbow surgery procedures include:

  • Treatment of tennis elbow
  • Removal of loose bodies
  • Release of scar tissue to improve range of motion
  • Treatment of osteoarthritis
  • Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

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