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Elbow surgery


Elbow problems can be the result of sports, overuse, aging or a disorder. In all instances, our surgeons offer complete care.

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Elbow pain can make even the simplest things difficult, like brushing your teeth or lifting a bag of groceries. Our surgeons are experts in elbow conditions. We’ll identify the cause of your pain and do everything we can to help you get better.

Our services

We do a wide variety of procedures to treat elbow problems, including:

  • Arthroscopic debridement (removing bone spurs or fragments)
  • Interpositional arthroplasty (repairing stiffness due to arthritis)
  • Synovectomy (removing diseased fluid and/or bone around the elbow)
  • Total elbow arthroplasty or replacement (replacing damaged bones with artificial parts)

Conditions treated

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  • The bicep is the muscle on the front of the upper arm. Injuries to the bicep happen around the elbow area. You may feel a pop when lifting something heavy, or feel pain in the elbow. You may also notice bruising around the elbow.

    A complete bicep tear almost always needs surgery. Injuries to the tricep (the muscle that runs down the back of the upper arm) often need surgery as well.

  • Elbow arthritis can cause many problems that need treatment or surgery. In the past, it often led to elbow replacements. But because today’s medications work so well, elbow replacements are increasingly rare. 

    If you have arthritis in the elbow and it’s causing problems, talk with your primary care doctor and the elbow surgeon about the treatment that’s right for you. 

  • Elbow instability means there’s a looseness or lack of stability in the elbow joint. This can make the elbow pop or slide out of place when doing certain arm movements. 

    Usually instability happens because the elbow has been injured. Treatments include physical therapy, wearing a brace or surgery. 

  • An elbow fracture (broken elbow) can be caused by everything from a simple fall to dislocating the elbow. Treatment depends on how bad the break is. If it’s small (like a crack), wearing a sling and physical therapy might be enough.  

    More serious breaks almost always need surgery. This lowers the chances of arthritis and instability of the elbow. 

  • Sometimes small pieces of bone or cartilage (the protective covering on the ends of bones) break off and float around the elbow joint. This can cause pain and stiffness. These pieces can also get caught in the moving parts of the elbow. 

    If pain is severe or if the loose bodies cause the elbow to get locked into place, surgery may be needed. 

  • Repetitive motions (like swinging a tennis racket or golf club) can cause pain or tenderness in the outside of the elbow. Sometimes small tears happen and the tissue wears out. This is called tennis elbow. It’s common in people ages 30 to 50. 

    A similar problem can happen along the inside of the elbow. Patients will often have pain that gets worse when they move or put pressure on the elbow. This is called golfer’s elbow. 

  • Surgery is rarely needed for either of these conditions. Both respond well to:

    • Physical therapy 
    • Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen
    • Wearing a brace 
    • Steroid shots

    If symptoms get worse, surgery may be needed. Usually this is done arthroscopically (a minimally invasive surgery that uses a small camera to see inside the elbow). But in some patients, a nonsurgical treatment called shockwave therapy may be used. 

  • The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) sits on the inside of the elbow. It connects the bone of the upper arm to a bone in the forearm. Repetitive motions like throwing put a lot of stress on the UCL. This can cause serious injury or make the UCL tear. 

    If this happens, Tommy John surgery can help. A surgeon replaces the damaged ligament with a tendon from another part of the patient’s body. The surgery was first done in 1974 on baseball pitcher Tommy John.


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