Elbow Arthroscopy Doctor

Are you unable to bend or straighten your elbow completely? Are you experiencing pain, stiffnes or even a crunching or popping sound in your elbow?  You may have a condition called loose bodies in the elbow which can occur from pieces of bone, or bone spurs in the elbow joint. Arthroscopy surgeon, Doctor Riley J. Williams provides diagnosis as well as surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Manhattan and New York City, NY who are experiencing elbow pain and stiffness. Contact Dr. Williams’ team today!

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What is elbow arthroscopy for the removal of loose bodies?

Elbow arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that utilizes a small camera to access the joint and perform surgery. The arthroscopic images are projected onto a large monitor. These enlarged images help to visual joint pathology and facilitate the removal of pathologic loose bodies. Loose bodies of the elbow are usually fragmented pieces of bone or cartilage. The procedure uses small surgical instruments which can shave, mince, or remove these loose bodies that can be found in the elbow. Dr. Riley J. Williams, orthopedic elbow surgeon, serving Manhattan, New York City and the surrounding New York boroughs, has extensive experience performing arthroscopic surgery for the removal of loose bodies within the elbow.

What are loose bodies of the elbow and why do they need removal?

Loose bodies are usually pieces of bone or cartilage that have broken off into the elbow joint. The three bones in the elbow are the humerus (upper arm bone), radius and ulna (forearm bones). Loose bodies occur when small pieces of bone or cartilage break from their natural locations and collect within the elbow joint capsule. Loose bodies form commonly in individuals who participate in sports, and who have experienced elbow trauma. A condition called synovial chondromatosis is characterized by the formation of loose bodies by the joint lining. Loose bodies in the elbow can cause pain, swelling, catching, motion loss and frank locking of the joint. Removal of loose bodies helps to alleviate these issues.

How is elbow arthroscopy performed?

The operation is done under regional anesthesia in an outpatient environment. Dr. Williams will focus his attention on removing all loose bodies within the anterior and posterior areas of the elbow joint.  Small portals are used to access the joint, and a small camera (arthroscope) is used for visualization. Loose bodies are removed with suction, shavers and graspers.  A synovectomy can be also performed during elbow arthroscopy for patients who been diagnosed with synovial chondromatosis, a benign tumor within the synovial membrane.

What are the risks of elbow arthroscopy with the removal of loose bodies?

Arthroscopic surgery has a high success rate. There are a few, rare complications that are possible:

  • Blood clotting
  • Joint infection
  • Drainage
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve injury

How long does it take to recover?

Patients leave the hospital within an hour or two after surgery. Once home, it will take a week or two to recover. Range of motion exercises should begin immediately. Strength training can start 2-3 weeks after surgery. A full recovery is typically achieved in 6-8 weeks. Pain tolerance should be the guide to progress for range of motion exercises, strength training and weight bearing.

For additional resources on elbow arthroscopy for the removal of loose bodies or to have your elbow pain evaluated, please contact the office of Dr. Riley J. Williams, MD, orthopedic elbow surgeon serving Manhattan, New York City and the surrounding New York boroughs.