How does one know that it’s time for surgery? Surgery is rarely recommended as the first line of treatment unless the patient has a traumatic injury.
If you have pain in your elbow, doctors would exhaust conservative to minimally-invasive methods of treatment before finally recommending surgery. So, if you find that there’s no improvement to your condition and you are unable to function without pain or limitations, it may be time for elbow surgery. Ultimately, this is a question that you and an orthopedic surgeon will answer together.
When An Orthopaedic Surgeon Recommends Surgery
Rest, ice therapy, pain medications, cortisone injections, and physical therapy are the usual treatments for the most common elbow conditions, such as tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and pitcher’s elbow. Elbow bursitis requires treatment using antibiotics and draining of the fluid from the bursa. If after several months of nonsurgical treatments, your elbow problem fails to improve, your doctor may recommend the most appropriate surgery.
Signs that you need elbow surgery include consistent and severe pain in the elbow joint, pain that worsens with use, stiffness after rest or activity, and a limited range of motion.
Types of Elbow Surgery
The type of surgery you need depends entirely on the condition you have. For patients with golfer’s elbow, the doctor may recommend a medial epicondyle release, which involves removing damaged tissue to take the pressure off the flexor tendon. Surgery for tennis elbow involves releasing the tendon, cleaning up the damaged tissue, and fixing tendon tears. Surgery for pitcher’s elbow also known as UCL reconstruction or Tommy John Surgery involves replacing the torn ulnar tendon with a tendon graft harvested from elsewhere in the body. For elbow bursitis, an infection usually necessitates surgery to remove the entire bursa. Elbow surgery may now be done arthroscopically, which is a minimally-invasive surgery.
Elbow surgery, although it can be completed with minimal disturbance to healthy tissue, is very challenging due to the complex structures of the elbow. Entrust your surgery to only the most experienced surgeons in the field.
Why Elbow Problems Should Receive Appropriate Treatment
Problems with your elbow can alter your range of motion immensely. Pain and other symptoms could also spread to other areas, such as your shoulder. When your elbow is not functioning properly, your shoulder tries to pick up the slack and takes on more than it should. Soon enough, you could have a shoulder problem if your elbow condition is not treated. Additionally, it is important to recognize when elbow pain is no longer treatable with nonsurgical treatments, so you can pursue surgery. It is not worth living in pain when surgery can provider long-term relief.
Elbow and Shoulder Pain Treatment in Catonsville, Columbia, Eldersburg, and Fulton, MD
At Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland (OACM), our board-certified and fellowship-trained surgeons provide superior elbow and shoulder care to our patients. You want your old elbow back to normal, and you want it fast. All our offices are well-equipped with diagnostic imaging machines, which helps us make a quick diagnosis. Also available on site are surgery and physical rehabilitation centers. We have made it very convenient to receive comprehensive orthopaedic care. To make an appointment with any of our orthopaedic surgeons, call (410) 644-1880, toll-free at (855) 4MD-BONE or use our convenient online request form.