The elbow is a complex structure composed of two joints—the proximal and distal radioulnar joints—which are linked together and function as a single joint that connects the upper arm to the forearm. The orientation of the bones creates a loose hinge that facilitates the extension and flexion of the forearm. The ends of the bones are capped with articular cartilage, which absorbs shock and allows the bones to glide smoothly against each other during movement.
Osteoarthritis of the elbow is a degenerative condition that causes cartilage to break down, a process that often occurs gradually with ongoing wear and tear. This common type of elbow arthritis can also develop after a traumatic elbow injury, such as a dislocation or fracture. In either case, chronic elbow arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and loss of joint range of motion.
Elbow arthritis can get in the way of an active lifestyle and may require treatment. Christopher C. Schmidt, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and elbow specialist, provides a full range of non-surgical and surgical options in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In accordance with his conservative treatment philosophy, Dr. Schmidt may suggest arthroscopic treatment for elbow arthritis that does not respond sufficiently to conservative therapies, such as rest, activity modifications, medications, physical therapy, or corticosteroid injections.
Arthroscopic Treatment of Elbow Arthritis
Elbow arthroscopy incorporates minimally invasive surgical techniques. When performing this procedure, Dr. Schmidt makes a few small incisions in the elbow, then inserts a tiny camera and specialized surgical instruments. Utilizing the camera to project highly detailed images onto an external screen in real time, Dr. Schmidt is able to view the interior of the joint while operating.
Arthroscopic treatment for elbow arthritis may involve:
- Debridement – Shaving down a bone spur or removing scar tissue, cartilage fragments, or other loose bodies that are catching in the elbow joint
- Synovectomy – Removing inflamed synovial tissue around the elbow joint capsule
- Osteotomy – Removing a small section of the bone to limit bone-on-bone contact
As compared to traditional open surgery, which involves a large incision and muscle disruption, elbow arthroscopy is less invasive, typically resulting in less postoperative pain and a quicker recovery.
Discuss Your Elbow Arthritis With Dr. Schmidt
If you’d like to explore your treatment options for elbow arthritis, you can feel confident entrusting your care to Dr. Schmidt. With many years of experience and a mastery of the latest arthroscopic techniques, Dr. Schmidt is widely regarded as one of the best elbow surgeons in Pittsburgh, PA.
To set up an appointment with Dr. Schmidt, call (877) 471-0935 today.
Your Premiere Choice for Shoulder & Elbow Surgery