Stiffness of the Elbow Surgery

There are multiple surgical options available for addressing elbow stiffness:

  1. Arthroscopic Capsular Release: This minimally invasive procedure involves the use of a small camera (arthroscope) inserted through small incisions to guide the surgeon in cutting and releasing the tight capsule of the elbow joint.
  2. Open Elbow Contracture Release: A more invasive method, this procedure includes incisions in the elbow to remove bone spurs and release the stiff elbow joint.
  3. Elbow Replacement: In severe cases, or when other treatments have failed, a total elbow arthroplasty might be recommended. This involves replacing the elbow joint with an artificial joint.

Expected Surgery Outcome

The expected outcome of these surgeries is to restore the range of motion in the elbow and alleviate associated pain. Most individuals notice a significant improvement in flexibility and reduction in discomfort following recovery.

Potential surgery complications and risks

Most surgeries carry some risk of complications, including infection, nerve injury, and blood clots. However, in the case of elbow surgery, additional concerns might include persistent stiffness (failure of the surgery to alleviate the condition), instability, and, in rare cases, need for additional surgery.

Risks

  • Infection: As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection.
  • Nerve Injury: Nerves near the elbow could potentially be damaged during surgery.
  • Blood Clots: Surgery can increase the risk of blood clots, particularly in the arms.
  • Persistent Stiffness: The procedure might not completely alleviate the elbow stiffness.
  • Instability: The elbow joint may become unstable after surgery.

Recovery after surgery

Post-operative care is crucial for a successful recovery. This usually involves pain management, physiotherapy to regain strength and flexibility, and possibly the use of a splint or brace. Regular follow-up appointments will be necessary to monitor the healing process. The recovery period can vary greatly depending on the specific procedure and individual patient characteristics, but generally, full recovery can take anywhere from 3 months to a year.