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Minimally Invasive & Traditional Dislocated Shoulder Surgery


Elbow dislocation surgery restores the elbow joint to its normal position and repairs any damaged ligaments that hold the joint together. It’s used to prevent disability by making sure the elbow heals correctly.

In the Bay Area, Dignity Health's orthopedic surgeons want to help you get back to the life you enjoy more quickly. Our doctors are trained in the most advanced surgical techniques and treatment options for orthopedic conditions. Find a Doctor with proven expertise in dislocated shoulder surgery in the Bay Area.

When is Elbow Dislocation Surgery Recommended?

Elbow dislocations can be either partial or complete. In a partial dislocation, the bones are only slightly out of place. Complete dislocation means the bones of the joint are totally separated. In either case, most dislocations can be fixed by your doctor slowly and gently guiding the bones back into place. However, surgery may be necessary for: 

  • Damage to ligaments that hold the elbow joint together
  • Elbow fractures that occur with dislocation
  • Recurrent elbow dislocation, which can occur with chronic elbow instability
  • Severe dislocations involving nerve or blood vessel damage

Depending on the severity of dislocation, you may need reconstructive elbow surgery to repair damage to nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and ligaments.

What to Expect During Elbow Arthroscopy & Traditional Surgery

Elbow dislocation surgery takes place in one of Dignity Health's Bay Area hospitals. Your doctor may wait to schedule surgery for a few days after the dislocation to allow any swelling to go down.

Elbow dislocation surgery options include open elbow surgery with a large incision or minimally invasive elbow arthroscopy. You may need metal screws and plates to stabilize the joint and repair broken bones. 

All surgeries involve risk, although minimally invasive approaches may offer a lower risk of complications, faster recovery, and less pain than open procedures. 

Possible risks and complications of elbow surgery include:

  • Blood vessel or nerve damage
  • Elbow stiffness
  • Pain that does not get better or returns
  • Persistent symptoms

Elbow Dislocation Surgery Recovery

Depending on the type of elbow dislocation surgery, you may have to spend a few days in a Dignity Health Bay Area hospital as you recover. You’ll need to wear a splint while your elbow heals. Full recovery can take several weeks to months. However, your doctor may recommend limitations on future activities.

 Physical therapy will help strengthen the joint and speed your recovery. It can also help prevent the injury from happening again. Wearing a hinged brace can provide external stability to your elbow during certain activities. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to help your recovery and prevent future injuries. Call 888.653.1839 to request a doctor referral.

Dignity Health surgeons are experts in elbow dislocation surgery in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.