I am Dr. Vikas Gupta from Hand2Shoulder Clinic. Today we will be talking about elbow problems. One of the most common problems of elbow is stiffness. By stiffness, we mean that there is a decreased movement. There could be many causes for the stiffness- it could be after injury, could be after arthritis or it could be just simple swelling which resulted in immobilization and stiffness. So each of the causes can be treated differently. Commonly simple stiffness can be treated by physiotherapy. Good amount of physiotherapy and exercises can relieve most of the patients. But some of the patients who cannot become better by physiotherapy would require surgery.
There are many types of surgery we do. One is Arthroscopy which is a minimally invasive surgery or we can say keyhole surgery in which we use the camera and few instruments, make few holes around the joint and go inside the joint, locate the things which are causing the stiffness and remove them. Sometimes what happens is stiffness is very severe and their causes are newborn formation or there is an extra bone which is formed around the joint which cannot be tackled by arthroscopy or minimal invasive surgery.
In such cases, we do open surgery or we called arthrolysis of the elbow. In such cases, we have to open up the whole joint and remove all the causes of stiffness, all the particle which are causing the movement restriction are removed and we make the joint mobile which is followed by physiotherapy and movement is restored. But many time the joint is completely destroyed like Arthritis. In such cases, it is very difficult to restore movements in the normal joint. In such cases, we go for the replacement arthroplasty where we replace whole of the joint with artificial joint and start the movements after physiotherapy and we expect good movement after joint replacement.