Elbow Contractures

“Elbow contracture” refers to a stiff elbow with limited range of motion. It is a common complication following elbow surgery, fractures, dislocations, and burns. The normal functional range of motion for an elbow is a range of 100 degrees. Limitations in either flexion or extension can significantly impact a patient’s ability to perform functions of daily living. There is often no associated pain.

Causes and risk factors associated with elbow contracture include elbow trauma, elbow surgery, arthritis, infection, or burns. Elbow conditions should be evaluated by an Orthopedic surgeon for proper diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Yu will review your medical history, and perform a physical examination and order diagnostic studies such as X-ray, CT scan, MRI, and nerve conduction studies, as appropriate.

Non-surgical treatment options for elbow contracture can successfully treat most elbow contractures of short duration. These options will be based on your specific situation and may include physical therapy, splinting or c asting.

If these methods fail to correct or improve the contracture, surgical intervention may be recommended. Surgery may involve manipulation under anesthesia, or surgical release of the elbow capsule. This surgery may be performed through an open incision, or arthroscopically through smaller incisions with use of specialized instruments. Arthroscopic Elbow Capsular Release is a minimally invasive surgery performed in an operating room under general or regional anesthesia.

Dr. Yu will discuss your particular condition with you, and review the treatment options along with their risks and benefits, and together you will decide on a treatment plan.

Read More

  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH)
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
  • The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS)