Elbow surgery is sometimes necessary after a dislocation to repair damaged ligaments that hold the joint together and restore the joint to its normal position. The bones of the joint may either be completely separated (complete dislocation) or only slightly out of place (partial dislocation).
Both complete and partial elbow dislocations require emergency treatment to restore the joint and make sure it heals correctly.
Orthopedic surgeons and hand surgeons at Dignity Health North State expertly perform surgery for elbow dislocation in Northern California. Find a Doctor near you using our online service. If you need to go to the ER, use our InQuicker tool to select an approximate hospital arrival time and wait at home until it’s your time to be seen.
When is Elbow Dislocation Surgery Necessary?
In most cases, doctors use a reduction maneuver to restore the normal position of the joint. In a reduction maneuver, your doctor slowly and gently guides the bones into place. In more severe dislocations, surgery may be necessary.
Your doctor may recommend elbow dislocation surgery for:
- Broken bones (fractures) with dislocation
- Damage to the ligaments that hold the elbow joint together
- Recurrent elbow dislocation
- Severe dislocations involving damage to the nerves and blood vessels
You may need to wait a few days between the initial dislocation and surgery to allow your swelling to subside. If the dislocation is severe, you may need reconstructive elbow surgery to repair damage to blood vessels, nerves, ligaments, and muscles.
What to Expect During Elbow Surgery at Dignity Health North State
Surgery for a dislocated elbow takes place at one of our hospitals or medical centers. Depending on your dislocation, you may have the option to have a minimally invasive procedure called elbow arthroscopy. Minimally invasive approaches often involve less pain, a lower risk of complications, and a faster recovery than open surgery.
If your injury is more severe, you may need open elbow surgery which involves a larger incision to repair the dislocation. If you have broken bones, you may need metal plates and screws to repair them and stabilize the joint.
Your Dignity Health North State doctor will explain the risks and benefits of your surgical options.
Recovery After Elbow Dislocation Surgery
Depending on your health and the extent of your elbow surgery, you may need to stay a night in the hospital. For outpatient procedures, you will go home the same day. You may need to support your elbow with a splint while it heals. Physical therapy can help strengthen the joint, speed your recovery, and prevent dislocation recurrences. Full recovery can take up to six months.
Your doctor will let you know when it is safe for you to return to your normal activities. You may need to wear a hinged brace for external stability to your elbow after you heal from surgery. Trust our experts to provide personal care at each stage of your recovery.
Dignity Health North State offers elbow surgery for dislocations in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.