Elbow SurgeryDr Grey is a specialist orthopaedic elbow surgeon based in Cape Town.
Dr Grey is experienced in treating all elbow injuries and problems such as elbow dislocations, fractures, distal biceps tendon ruptures, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, olecranon bursitis, stiff elbows and elbow arthritis.
Typical Elbow Conditions
Before surgery is considered:
During the first consultation Dr Grey will take time to find out more about your health and the nature of your elbow problem. He will examine you to identify the origin of pain, assess the elbow movement and stability as well as measure the power in the various muscles around the elbow.
Depending on the suspected elbow condition, you may be sent for X-rays. In certain scenarios a MRI scan or CT-scan may also be required.
Dr Grey will discuss your diagnosis and management options with you. Many elbow problems can initially be treated by conservative means which may include medication, cortisone injections and/or physiotherapy. Please have a look at the list of elbow problems in the Patient Education section. If surgery is indicated, he will explain the proposed procedure, alternative procedures, as well as the risks involved. Please feel free to ask questions during this process.
Open or arthoscopic (“key-hole”) surgery?
Dr Grey is experienced in both arthroscopic and open surgical procedures. Some elbow operations can be performed arthroscopically through small skin incisions. This allows for smaller scars and potentially faster rehabilitation. Theoretically there is also a lower infection risk with arthroscopic surgery. Tennis elbow debridement is most often performed as a small open procedure but an arthroscopic procedure is considered in certain scenarios.
The more complex elbow operations such as fracture fixation surgery, elbow ligament reconstruction and elbow replacements require wider surgical exposure and are therefore performed as open procedures. Care is taken to protect the major nerves, minimize soft tissue damage, reduce bleeding and to obtain a well healed scar.
The morning of surgery:
You will be informed about the time of your surgery and admission time. You will need to present yourself to hospital about 2 hours before surgery as the admission process can be quite tedious. There is a pre-admission clinic at Kingsbury Hospital where you can complete most of the paperwork the day before surgery to speed up the admission process. Please be starved (nothing to eat or drink) for at least 6 hours before surgery.
Depending on the surgery performed and the time of surgery, you may be allowed to go home on the same day or the following morning. If pain is expected to be severe after surgery it is advisable to stay overnight to optimize pain management. Other factors influencing the length of stay will be the use of surgical drains and intravenous antibiotics. You will be issued with a sling and instructed about its use. Please have a look at the post-operative rehabilitation information sheets in the “Patient Education” section. Dr Grey will refer you to a physiotherapist when required. The first follow-up visit is normally at 2 weeks after surgery to assess your surgical scar(s).
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