Elbow injuries are common and often involve surgical intervention and procedures to help treat the injured tissue, including biceps and triceps rupture repair, ligament repairs, and fracture stabilization. Most surgical interventions of the elbow are designed to repair or replace the affected tissue. These tissues may include cartilage, muscle, or tendon. Procedures will range from minimally invasive repairs to open surgery. Each procedure has different healing timelines and expected outcomes based on the type of injury and tissue involved.
Once surgical intervention is chosen, your surgeon will go over the procedure, the healing timeline, and what you should expect to feel after surgery. This is also an excellent time to plan for after the surgery, depending on how long you have to stay in the hospital and what restrictions you may have after the procedure. Before surgery, you may also meet with a physical therapist to assess your strength and mobility prior to surgery.
Once the surgery is completed, you will be given specific instructions on how to care for your post-operative wound and restrictions on range of motion and lifting. You will be provided with instructions regarding pain management, wound management, and information about the procedure. Once the initial healing phase is complete, you will follow up with a physical therapist to regain your range of motion and strength. Each timeline will differ based on your procedure and the extent of the injury.
Distal Biceps Rupture
Your biceps tendon is responsible for flexing your arm and for twisting your forearm. After a direct hit to the front of your elbow or when attempting to lift something that is too heavy, you can rupture your distal biceps tendon. This is often associated with a loud “pop” and a Popeye arm deformity, in addition to pain and bruising. Dr. Bercik can fix your tendon back to the bone through a small incision.
Your triceps tendon is responsible for straightening your arm. A triceps rupture results when the tendon pulls off the bone at your elbow (the olecranon). The triceps tendon can be repaired back to the bone through a small incision, allowing you to regain the strength in your elbow.
Arthritis is the “wear and tear” condition in which the joint has lost its lubrication layer (the cartilage). In other words, the ball bearings are shot. Although this can be quite painful, arthritis can be repaired surgically with either arthroscopic elbow surgery or with a total elbow replacement.
Dr. Bercik manages a wide variety of broken bones around the elbow including the distal humerus, the olecranon, or the radius. Sometimes fractures can be treated arthroscopically, and sometimes they are treated with plates and screws (“open reduction and internal fixation”).