Loose Bodies in the Elbow Surgery

There are two main surgical options for treating loose bodies in the elbow.

  1. Arthroscopic Surgery: This minimally invasive procedure involves the surgeon making small incisions around the elbow, through which an arthroscope (a small camera) and surgical instruments are inserted. The camera allows the surgeon to locate the loose bodies, which are then removed using the surgical tools.
  2. Open Surgery: In some cases, where the loose bodies are large or lodged in difficult-to-reach areas, an open surgical approach may be necessary. This involves a larger incision and direct removal of the loose bodies.

Expected Surgery Outcome

The goal of both arthroscopic and open surgery is to reduce pain and improve elbow function. Most patients experience significant relief from symptoms, and following a period of rehabilitation, are able to return to their normal activities.

Potential surgery complications and risks

While complications are rare, they can occur. These may include infection, nerve damage, bleeding, and stiffness or loss of motion in the elbow. Some patients may also experience a reaction to the anaesthesia used during surgery.


  • Infection: Though rare, surgery can sometimes lead to an infection.
  • Nerve Damage: Nerves near the surgical site may be accidentally damaged during the procedure.
  • Bleeding: As with any surgery, there is a risk of bleeding.
  • Postoperative Stiffness: Some patients may experience stiffness in their elbow after surgery.

Recovery after surgery

After surgery, patients will typically undergo a course of physiotherapy to restore strength and mobility to the elbow. The exact length of the recovery period can vary from person to person, but most patients can expect to return to their normal activities within 3 to 6 months following surgery.