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    Elbow
    Sutter Orthopaedic Institute

    Elbow conditions commonly arise from trauma or from activities that cause repetition or overuse of the joint, such as tennis, golf and baseball. In addition, arthritis, nerve irritation and inflammation can develop over time or following injuries. Patients with elbow problems are referred to Sutter orthopedic surgeons who specialize in sports medicine, joint conditions, or exclusively in upper extremity conditions.

    Diagnosis
    Following an office examination, patients with elbow problems may undergo diagnostic imaging tests, such as an X-ray, magnetic resonance image (MRI) or arthrogram (joint X-ray) to locate the exact cause of the problem. From there, the surgeon develops a treatment plan, beginning with a nonsurgical approach when possible.

    Treatment
    If the condition does not respond to nonsurgical care, surgery may be required. Sutter surgeons offer the latest proven methods for correcting elbow problems, including arthroscopy and microvascular surgical techniques and shockwave therapy. Surgical procedures include removing inflamed synovial fluid tissue, debridement (removing bone spurs and bone or cartilage fragments), reconstructing or grafting ligaments and tendons, partial or total joint replacement, joint resurfacing; and others. Information about diagnosis and treatment of many conditions of the elbow are available in our Health Information Library under the following topics: Arm Injuries; Arm Problems, Noninjury; Arthritis (Osteoarthritis); Arthritis, Rheumatoid; Bursitis; Elbow Injuries; Elbow Problems, Noninjury; Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow); Finger, Hand, and Wrist Injuries; Finger, Hand, and Wrist Problems, Noninjury; Tendinitis; Tendinopathy; and Tendinosis. Additional information resources include American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

    Recent Advances
    Medical science is constantly developing more effective and less invasive techniques to diagnose and treat orthopedic conditions. Your Sutter surgeon can discuss the various treatments available and make recommendations based on your specific condition.

    Find Out More
    Patients generally receive referrals from their primary care doctors to orthopedic surgeons who treat elbow conditions. To self-refer or learn more about surgeons who care for elbow disorders, go to the Physician Directory and select Orthopedic Surgery from the drop-down menu under Physician Specialties. Clicking on a physician's name opens a profile, which offers more insight into the physician's areas of concentration.