Elbow Joint Diagnostic Arthroscopy

Elbow Joint Arthroscopy-

The Procedure Is Performed Under One Of The Following Anesthesia:

  • General Anesthesia
  • Regional Anesthesia- Brachial or Axillary Nerve Block
  • Sedation and Local Anesthesia

1. General Anesthesia

  • Skin is prepped after the patient is asleep.
  • Skin is prepped with aseptic solution.
  • Prep skin covered with sterile drape.

2. Regional Anesthesia-

1. Regional Block- Brachial Plexus Block

  • Elbow joint is numbed by brachial plexus block.
  • Procedure is performed while patient is asleep.
  • Brachial plexus is blocked above clavicle using lidocaine or bupivacaine.
  • Brachial plexus is identified by using ultrasound or nerve stimulator.

2. Regional Block- Axillary Nerve Block

  • Brachial plexus continues as axillary plexus in axilla.
  • Local anesthesia injected around nerves in axilla after general anesthesia or sedation.
  • Axillary nerve is identified by ultrasound
  • Nerves are blocked with short acting lidocaine or long acting bupivacaine.

Sedation with Local Anesthesia

  • This Procedure is also performed under local anesthesia
  • Patient is sedated prior to injecting local anesthetics
  • Local anesthesia injected are lidocaine and bupivacaine.
  • Lidocaine block lasts for 1 to 2 hours and bupivacaine block last for 2 to 4 hours.


  • The skin is marked for entry point over the back of elbow joint
  • Marking is done for entry of the arthroscope and irrigation cannula
  • Arthroscope is inserted in to the elbow joint
  • Joint is irrigated with normal saline
  • Joint is examined through arthroscope.

Elbow Joint Diagnostic Arthroscopy

  • Arthroscopy is an examination of elbow joint using arthroscope
  • Arthroscope is a tubular telescope which captures live image
  • Arthroscope is Pencil size optical device
  • Images are displayed on television screen
  • Arthroscope images are large in size
  • Details are magnified and easy to observe.

The Following Elbow Joint Problems are Diagnosed Using Arthroscope:

  1. Loose Bodies in Elbow Joint
  2. Bone Spurs in Elbow Joint
  3. Loose Elbow Joint Capsule
  4. Cartilage Damage
  5. Tendon Tear or Tennis Elbow
  6. Ligament Tear

1. Loose Bodies in Elbow Joint

  • Single or several loose bodies are found in elbow joint
  • Loose bodies causes joint pain and stiffness
  • Loose bodies also damages cartilage and synovial membrane

2. Bone Spurs in Elbow Joint

  • Bone spur causes irritation and tear of ligament and capsule located around spur.
  • Bone spur causes pain and joint stiffness.

3. Loose Elbow Joint Capsule

  • Loose Elbow joint capsule cause Joint pain and joint subluxation
  • Loose capsule is often found over portion of the joint and not complete joint
  • Loose capsule is difficult to diagnose with X-Ray and MRI.

4. Cartilage Damage

  • Smooth surface of cartilage become rough following cartilage damage
  • Cartilage damage breaks into loose fragments in the joint

5. Tendon Tear or Tennis Elbow

  • Tear of the elbow joint are difficult to see in X-Ray and MRI
  • Tendon tear as in tennis elbow are better observed using arthroscope
  • Tendon tear repair can be done following diagnostic block.

6. Ligament Tear

  • Ligament tear is difficult to diagnose with clinical examination and X-Ray or MRI
  • Arthroscopy of elbow joint assist in diagnosing elbow joint tendon injury.