Arthroscopy is a way to find problems and do surgery inside a joint without making a large cut (incision). Your doctor puts a lighted tube with a tiny camera and surgical tools through small incisions. The camera is called an arthroscope, or scope.
This surgery can treat several problems.
You probably will go home on the day of the surgery or the next day. Your arm may be in a sling. You may need to do physical rehabilitation (rehab) exercises for several weeks.
You may need about 6 to 8 weeks to recover. But if you have had treatment for a stiff elbow, you may need to wear a brace and do rehab exercises for 3 to 6 months. You may have to limit your activity until your elbow strength and movement improve.
If you have a desk job, you may be able to go back to work a few days after the surgery. If you lift things or do physical labour at work, it may be 1 to 2 months before you can go back.
After surgery and rehab, you will probably have less pain and more movement in your elbow. Some people have to avoid lifting heavy objects.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your surgery.
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Current as of: March 21, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
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