DAVE WATTS, MD
Elbow Ligament or Tendon Repair
The elbow is a complex structure of bones and joints. The long bone of upper arm or humerus and two forearm bones called radius and ulna connect to make the elbow move. This structure ensures basic movements of the elbow like flexion and extension of upper limb or rotation of the forearm.
The elbow joints get stability and strength from collateral ligament, radial collateral ligament, and the annular ligament.
The rotational movements of the forearm are support by a group of muscles, flexors, and common extensor tendons.
Elbow Ligament Injuries
The injuries related to elbow ligament including golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow. These injuries result from overuse of the tendons or repetitive sporting activities.
The ligaments around the elbow may get injured due to trauma, rupture, sprain or accident. Common causes of trauma or sprain include overuse of the elbow, direct injury, or repetitive stress.
Symptoms of Elbow Ligament
Some of the injuries related to elbow including swelling or pain radiating to the forearm or palm. Instability of the joints may also lead to elbow ligament tendinitis.
Surgical Procedures to Treat Elbow Tendinitis
The repair of the damaged elbow tendon can be carried out for tendon release and tendon debridement.
The common surgical procedure used for repairing elbow tendons is tendon release. The surgeon splits the damaged tendon and removes the scar tissue or overgrowth around the tendon. The loose end of the tendon may also be sutured to surrounding connective tissue or fascia.
The surgeon may also use tendon debridement for management of the tendinitis. This surgical procedure involves removing damaged tissue from the tendon and cleaning it.
The surgeon may recommend ligament reconstruction in patients with ligament rupture. An incision is made over the elbow to carefully move muscles, tendons, and nerves out of the way. The surgeon harvests the donor tendon from below the knee or the forearm. The surgeon inserts donor’s tendon by inserting it through holes drilled into a pattern similar to the original ligament complex. The surgeon attaches the tendon to the bone surface using special sutures. The surgeon closes the incision and covers it with sterile dressings. The doctor advises a splint support for fixing elbow for a few weeks. Upon surgery’s completion, the surgeon can advise the patient to follow up regularly and may opt for a rehabilitation program to speed up recovery.
Associated Risks & Complications
Some of the most common ligament repairs including infection, injury to adjacent nerves or blood vessel, and loss of strength or flexibility in the elbow joint.
Postoperative rehabilitation plays a vital role in patient’s successful recovery. The patient may be asked to wear splint immediately after the surgery, use ice therapy, massage for reducing pain or get electrical stimulation. The surgeon may also advise the patient to do from a range of motion and isometric exercises to ensure long-term rehabilitation.