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Elbow Procedures

Elbow Arthroscopy

Elbow Arthroscopy

Elbow arthroscopy, also referred to as keyhole or minimally invasive surgery, is a surgical procedure that is performed through tiny incisions to evaluate and treat several elbow conditions.

UCL Reconstruction (Tommy John Surgery)

UCL Reconstruction (Tommy John Surgery)

Commonly called Tommy John surgery, this procedure involves reconstructing a damaged ligament on the inside of the elbow called the ulnar or medial collateral ligament with a tendon graft obtained from your own body or a donor.

Elbow Fracture Reconstruction

Elbow Fracture Reconstruction

Elbow fracture reconstruction is a surgical procedure employed to repair and restore the appearance and full function of a damaged elbow caused by severe trauma or injury. This may include repairing damaged structures or replacing missing or damaged structures with adjoining skin, muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, or nerves to restore the appearance and function.

Elbow Arthritis Surgery

Elbow Arthritis Surgery

Although the elbows are not weight-bearing joints, they are considered to be most important for the functioning of the upper limbs. Hence, even minor trauma or disease affecting the elbow may cause pain and limit the movements of the upper limbs. Arthritis is one of the common disease conditions affecting the elbow joint.

Total Elbow Replacement

Total Elbow Replacement

Elbow joint replacement, also referred to as total elbow arthroplasty, is an operative procedure to treat the symptoms of arthritis that have not responded to non-surgical treatments. The goal of elbow joint replacement surgery is to eliminate your pain and increase the mobility of your elbow joint.

Distal Biceps Repair

Distal Biceps Repair

Distal biceps repair is a surgical procedure to restore a ruptured or torn distal biceps and tendon, caused by an injury.

Elbow Ligament Reconstruction

Elbow Ligament Reconstruction

Ligament reconstruction is considered in patients with ligament rupture. Your surgeon will make an incision over the elbow. Care is taken to move muscles, tendons, and nerves out of the way. The donor's tendon is harvested from either the forearm or below the knee. Your surgeon drills holes into the bones of the upper arm and forearm, around the elbow joint.

Elbow Tendon and Ligament Repair

Elbow Tendon and Ligament Repair

Tendon release: It is the most commonly used surgery for tendon repair. In this procedure, your surgeon locates the attachment of the extensor or flexor tendon on the elbow and splits the damaged tendon, as well as removes the scar tissue or other overgrowths around the tendon.

Ulnar Nerve Release

Ulnar Nerve Release

Ulnar nerve release, also known as ulnar nerve decompression, is a surgical procedure to treat a medical condition called ulnar nerve entrapment.

Elbow Conditions

Throwing Injuries

Throwing Injuries

An athlete uses an overhand throw to achieve greater speed and distance. Repeated throwing in sports such as baseball and basketball can place a lot of stress on the joints of the arm, and lead to weakening and ultimately, injury to the structures in the elbow.

Elbow Ligament Injuries

Elbow Ligament Injuries

Elbow ligament injuries are injuries to the tough elastic tissues that connect the bones of the elbow joint to each other. These ligaments stabilize the elbow while allowing an appropriate joint range of motion to occur. An acute or chronic injury to the elbow ligament can result in joint laxity and loss of elbow function.

Elbow Pain

Elbow Pain

Damage to any of the structures that make up the elbow joint can cause elbow pain. Elbow dislocation: An elbow dislocation occurs when the bones that make up the joint are forced out of alignment as when you fall onto an outstretched hand.

Elbow Arthritis

Elbow Arthritis

Although the elbows are not weight-bearing joints, they are considered to be most important for the functioning of the upper limbs. Hence, even minor trauma or disease affecting the elbow may cause pain and limit the movements of the upper limbs. Arthritis is one of the common disease conditions affecting the elbow joint.

Elbow Fractures

Elbow Fractures

Elbow fractures may occur from trauma, resulting from various reasons: a fall on an outstretched arm, a direct blow to the elbow or an abnormal twist to the joint beyond its functional limit.

Bicep Tendon Tear at the Elbow

Bicep Tendon Tear at the Elbow

A biceps tear can be complete or partial. Partial biceps tendon tears will not completely break the tendon while complete tendon tears will break the tendon into two parts. Tears of the distal biceps tendon are usually complete and the muscle is separated from the bone. Tears of the distal biceps tendon most often result from a sudden injury or lifting a heavy object.

Elbow Dislocation

Elbow Dislocation

The arm in the human body is made up of three bones that join to form a hinge joint called the elbow. The upper arm bone or humerus connects from the shoulder to the elbow to form the top of the hinge joint. The lower arm or forearm consists of two bones, the radius, and the ulna. These bones connect the wrist to the elbow forming the bottom portion of the hinge joint.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (Ulnar Nerve Entrapment)

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (Ulnar Nerve Entrapment)

When the elbow is bent, the ulnar nerve can stretch and catch on the bony bump. When the ulnar nerve is compressed or entrapped, the nerve can tear and become inflamed, leading to cubital tunnel syndrome.

Elbow Trauma

Elbow Trauma

The elbow is a complex joint of the upper limb, formed by the articulation of the long bone of the upper arm or humerus, and the two bones of the forearm - the radius and ulna. It is one of the important joints of the upper limb and is involved in basic movements such as bending and extending the arm and rotating the forearm.

Elbow Instability

Elbow Instability

Elbow instability is a condition in which the elbow joint occasionally slides out of alignment due to the unstable state of the joint.

Elbow Injuries

Elbow Injuries

Fracture is a common injury to the elbow. Elbow fractures may result from a fall onto an outstretched wrist, direct impact to the elbow or twisting injury. Elbow fractures may cause severe pain, swelling, tenderness, and painful movements.

Distal Humerus Fractures of the Elbow

Distal Humerus Fractures of the Elbow

Injury in the distal humerus can cause impairment in the function of the elbow joint. A distal humerus fracture is a rare condition that occurs when there is a break in the lower end of the humerus.

Radial Head Fractures of the Elbow

Radial Head Fractures of the Elbow

Radial head fractures are very common and occur in almost 20% of acute elbow injuries. Elbow dislocations are generally associated with radial head fractures. Radial head fractures are more common in women than in men and occur more frequently in the age group of 30 to 40 years.

Ulnar Nerve Neuropathy

Ulnar Nerve Neuropathy

Ulnar nerve neuropathy is the entrapment or compression of the ulnar nerve causing impairment of its function. The branches from the spinal nerve C8 (cervical) and T1 (upper thoracic) give rise to the ulnar nerve that passes close to the ulna bone of the forearm.

Elbow Anatomy

The elbow is a complex joint formed by the articulation of three bones – the humerus, radius, and ulna. The elbow joint helps in bending or straightening of the arm to 180 degrees and lifting or moving objects.

The bones of the elbow are supported by: 

  • Ligaments and tendons
  • Muscles
  • Nerves
  • Blood vessels

Bones and Joints of the Elbow

The elbow joint is formed at the junction of three bones: 

  • The humerus (upper arm bone) forms the upper portion of the joint. The lower end of the humerus divides into two bony protrusions known as the medial and lateral epicondyles, which can be felt on either side of the elbow joint.
  • The ulna is the larger bone of the forearm located on the inner surface of the joint. It articulates with the humerus.
  • The radius is the smaller bone of the forearm situated on the outer surface of the joint. The head of the radius is circular and hollow, which allows movement with the humerus. The articulation between the ulna and radius helps the forearm to rotate.

The elbow consists of three joints, namely:

  • The humeroulnar joint is formed between the humerus and ulna and allows flexion and extension of the arm.
  • The humeroradial joint is formed between the radius and humerus and allows movements like flexion, extension, supination, and pronation.
  • The radioulnar joint is formed between the ulna and radius bones and allows rotation of the lower arm.

Articular cartilage lines the articulating regions of the humerus, radius, and ulna. It is a thin, tough, flexible and slippery surface that acts as a shock absorber and cushion to reduce friction between the bones. The cartilage is lubricated with synovial fluid, which further enables the smooth movement of the bones.

Muscles of the Elbow Joint

There are several muscles extending across the elbow joint that help in various movements. These include the following:

  • Biceps brachii: Upper arm muscle, enabling flexion of the arm
  • Triceps brachii: Muscle in the back of the upper arm that extends the arm and fixes the elbow during fine movements
  • Brachialis: Upper arm muscle beneath the biceps, which flexes the elbow towards the body
  • Brachioradialis: Forearm muscle that flexes, straightens and pulls the arm at the elbow
  • Pronator teres: Muscle that extends from the humeral head, across the elbow, and towards the ulna, and helps to turn the palm facing backward
  • Extensor carpi radialis brevis: Forearm muscle that helps in movement of the hand
  • Extensor digitorum: Forearm muscle that helps in movement of the fingers

Ligaments and Tendons of the Elbow 

The elbow joint is supported by ligaments and tendons, which provide stability to the joint. 

Ligaments are a group of firm tissues that connect bones to other bones. The most important ligaments of the elbow joint are the: 

  • Medial or ulnar collateral ligament: Comprised of triangular bands of tissue on the inner side of the elbow joint
  • Lateral or radial collateral ligament: A thin band of tissue on the outer side of the elbow joint
  • Annular ligament: Group of fibers that surround the radial head, and hold the ulna and radius tightly in place during movement of the arm

Together, the medial and lateral ligaments are the main source of stability and hold the humerus and ulna tightly in place during movement of the arm.

The ligaments around a joint combine to form a joint capsule that contains synovial fluid. 

Any injury to these ligaments can lead to instability of the elbow joint.

Tendons are bands of connective tissue fibers that connect muscle to bone. The various tendons that surround the elbow joint include:

  • Biceps tendon: attaches the biceps muscle to the radius, allowing the elbow to bend
  • Triceps tendon: attaches the triceps muscle to the ulna, allowing the elbow to straighten

Nerves of the Elbow

The main nerves of the elbow joint are the ulnar, radial and median nerves. These nerves transfer signals from the brain to the muscles that aid in elbow movements. They also carry sensory signals such as touch, pain, and temperature back to the brain.

Any injury or damage to these nerves causes pain, weakness or joint instability.

Blood Vessels Supplying the Elbow 

Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-pure blood from the heart to the hand. The main artery of the elbow is the brachial artery that travels across the inside of the elbow and divides into two small branches below the elbow to form the ulnar and the radial artery.