The Arthroscopic Treatment of the Stiff Elbow

  • Shawn W. O’Driscoll


Loss of elbow motion due to trauma or arthritis is common and significantly impairs function of the upper extremity. Morrey et al. [1] documented in 33 normal volunteers that the activities of daily living (ADLs) require a functional arc of approximately 100∘ of flexion and extension of the elbow (30∘-130∘).


Ulnar Nerve Heterotopic Ossification Cubital Tunnel Mayo Foundation Ulnar Neuropathy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Morrey BF, Askew LJ, An KN, Chao EY (1981) A biomechanical study of normal elbow motion. J Bone Joint Surg Am 63:872–877PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Savoie FH 3rd, Nunley PD, Field LD (1999) Arthroscopic management of the arthritic elbow: indications, technique, and results. J Shoulder Elbow Surg 8:214–219PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kim SJ, Shin SJ (2000) Arthroscopic treatment for limitation of motion of the elbow. Clin Orthop Relat Res 375:140–148PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Norberg FB, Savoie FH 3rd, Field LD (2000) Arthroscopic treatment of arthritis of the elbow. Instr Course Lect 49:247–253PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    O’Driscoll S (2000) Elbow arthroscopy: loose bodies. In: Morrey B (ed) The Elbow and its Disorders. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, pp 510–514Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    O’Driscoll S (2000) Elbow arthroscopy: the Future. In: Morrey B (ed) The Elbow and its Disorders. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, p 522Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Savoie FH 3rd, Field LD (2000) Arthroscopi capsular release. In: Morrey B (ed) The Elbow and its Disorders. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, pp 516–519Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kelly E, Morrey B, O’Driscoll S (2001) Complications of elbow arthroscopy. J Bone Joint Surg Am 83:25–34PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Savoie FH 3rd, Field LD (2001) Arthrofibrosis and complications in arthroscopy of the elbow. Clin Sports Med 20:123–129PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ball CM, Meunier M, Galatz LM et al (2002) Arthroscopic treatment of post-traumatic elbow contracture. J Shoulder Elbow Surg 11:624–629PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    O’Driscoll SW, Savoie FH 3rd (2OO2) Arthroscopy of the elbow. In: Morrey BF (ed) Master Techniques in Orthopedic Surgery: the Elbow. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, pp 27–45Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gallay SH, Richards RR, O’Driscoll SW (1993) Intra-articular capacity and compliance of stiff and normal elbows. Arthroscopy 9:9–13PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    O’Driscoll SW, Morrey BF, An KN (1990) Intra-articular pressure and capacity of the elbow. Arthroscopy 6:100–103PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Timmerman LA, Andrews JR (1994) Arthroscopic treatment of post-traumatic elbow pain and stiffness. Am J Sports Med 22:230–235PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    O’Driscoll SW (1995) Arthroscopic treatment for osteoarthritis of the elbow. Orthop Clin North Am 26:691–706PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lindenfeld TN (1990) Medial approach in elbow arthroscopy. Am J Sports Med 18:413–417PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Marshall PD, Fairclough JA, Johnson SR, Evans EJ (1993) Avoiding nerve damage during elbow arthroscopy. J Bone Joint Surg Br 75:129–131PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Miller C, Jobe C, Wright M (1995) Neuroanatomy in elbow arthroscopy. J Shoulder Elbow Surg 4:168–174PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lynch G, Meyers J, Whipple T, Caspari R (1986) Neurovascular anatomy and elbow arthroscopy: inherent risks. Arthroscopy 2:191–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bain GI, Mehta JA, Heptinstall RJ (1998) The dynamic elbow suspension splint. J Shoulder Elbow Surg 7:419–421PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    O’Driscoll S, Giori N (2000) Continuous passive motion (CPM): theory and principles of clinical application. J Rehabil Res Dev 37:179–188PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Gelinas JJ, Faber KJ, Patterson SD, King GJ (2000) The effectiveness of turnbuckle splinting for elbow contractures. J Bone Joint Surg Br 82:74–78PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Bonutti PM, Windau JE, Abies BA, Miller BG (1994) Static progressive stretch to reestablish elbow range of motion. Clin Orthop Relat Res 303:128–134PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Mansat P, Morrey BF (1998) The column procedure: A limited lateral approach for extrinsic contracture of the elbow. J Bone Joint Surg Am 80:1603–1615PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Mansat P, Morrey BF, Hotchkiss RN (2000) Extrinsic contracture: the column procedure. Lateral and medial capsular releases. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, pp 447–456Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Morrey BF (2000) Surgical treatment of extra-articular elbow contracture. Clin Orthop Relat Res 370:57–64PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Morrey B (1993) Post-traumatic stiffness: distraction orthoplasty. In: Morrey B (ed) The Elbow and its Disorders. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, pp 476–491Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Morrey BF (1990) Post-traumatic contracture of the elbow. Operative treatment, including distraction arthroplasty. J Bone Joint Surg Am 72:601–618PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Gates HS, Sullivan FL, Urbaniak JR (1992) Anterior capsulotomy and continuous passive motion in the treatment of post-traumatic flexion contracture of the elbow. A prospective study. J Bone Joint Surg 74:1229–1234PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Husband JB, Hastings H (1990) The lateral approach for operative release of post-traumatic contracture of the elbow. J Bone Joint Surg Am 72:1353–1358PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Mih AD, Wolf FG (1994) Surgical release of elbow-capsular contracture in pediatric patients. J Pediatric Orthop 14:458–461Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Viola RW, Hanel DP (1999) Early “simple” release of posttraumatic elbow contracture associated with heterotopic ossification. J Hand Surg Am 24:370–380PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Moritomo H, Tada K, Yoshida T (2001) Early, wide excision of heterotopic ossification in the medial elbow. J Shoulder Elbow Surg 10:164–168PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Cohen AP, Redden JF, Stanley D (2000) Treatment of osteoarthritis of the elbow: a comparison of open and arthroscopic debridement. Arthroscopy 16:701–706PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    King GJ, Faber KJ (2000) Post-traumatic elbow stiffness. Orthop Clin North Am 31:129–143PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Phillips BB, Strasburger S (1998) Arthroscopic treatment of arthrofibrosis of the elbow joint. Arthroscopy 14:38–44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Kim SJ, Kim HK, Lee JW (1995) Arthroscopy for limitation of motion of the elbow. Arthroscopy 11:680–683PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Redden JF, Stanley D (1993) Arthroscopic fenestration of the olecranon fossa in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the elbow. Arthroscopy 9:14–16PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Jones GS, Savoie FH III (1993) Arthroscopic capsular release of flexion contractures (arthrofibrosis) of the elbow. Arthroscopy 9:277–283PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Nowicki KD, Shall LM (1992) Arthroscopic release of a posttraumatic flexion contracture in the elbow: a case report and review of the literature. Arthroscopy 8:544–547PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Urbaniak JR, Hansen PE, Beissinger SF, Aitken MS (1985) Correction of post-traumatic flexion contracture of the elbow by anterior capsulotomy. J Bone Joint Surg Am 67:1160–1164PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    O’Driscoll SW, Horii E, Morrey BF, Carmichael SW (1991) The cubital tunnel and ulnar neuropathy. J Bone Joint Surg Br 73:613–617PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Haapaniemi T, Berggren M, Adolfsson L (1999) Complete transection of the median and radial nerves during arthroscopic release of post-traumatic elbow contracture. Arthroscopy 15:784–787PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Papilion J, Neff R, Shall L (1988) Compression neuropathy of the radial nerve as a complication of elbow arthroscopy: a case report and review of the literature. Arthroscopy 4:284–286PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shawn W. O’Driscoll
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OrthopedicsMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

Personalised recommendations