Elbow Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a procedure that orthopaedic surgeons utilize to repair complications inside a joint. An elbow arthroscopy involves a tiny camera, called an arthroscope, inserted through small incisions to see within the elbow joint. This method results in less pain for patients after surgery, reduces joint stiffness, and shortens recovery time so you can return to your favorite activities as soon as possible.


Dr. Hackett may recommend an elbow arthroscopy if you have discomfort or pain that is persistent and does not respond to non-surgical treatments. If you have an injured elbow, it becomes inflamed that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness.

The most common conditions of the elbow are injuries, overuse, or age-related wear, and an elbow arthroscopy procedure can help relieve any painful symptoms by correcting the complications of the joint. This method focuses on treating many conditions, and some of the most common procedures include:

  • Treatment of tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow
  • Removal of loose bone and cartilage fragments
  • Correct scar tissue to improve range of motion
  • Treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Treatment of Osteochondritis (seen in throwers or gymnasts)

If you suffer from any of these conditions, contact our Vail, Colorado office today to schedule an appointment.

Surgical procedure

During an elbow arthroscopy, you will most likely be given general anesthesia, so you are asleep throughout the procedure. Elbow arthroscopy uses small incisions so a camera, or fiber optic device, is inserted into the elbow. Then Dr. Hackett utilizes small tools to examine and correct the injury without damaging healthy surrounding tissues. Depending on your injury or condition, surgery times and procedural steps will vary.

Since arthroscopy is less invasive than an open surgery, there is a quicker recovery time and patients get similar results as open surgery without the associated risks. However, rehabilitation programs are generally recommended to restore full motion and the ability of the elbow joint.

Physical therapy

Rehabilitation is the final step in your procedure plan that is necessary to return to your daily activities safely. An exercise program specifically designed for you will help regain elbow motion and strength. In some cases, basic exercises can begin at home a few days after the procedure. However, with more complex surgeries, physical therapy is often suggested to restore the motion and strength of the elbow. Depending on the type of surgery you underwent, each rehabilitation therapy will vary in length and exercises.

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