Elbow Arthroscopy, Care After

Refer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information on caring for yourself after your procedure. Your health care provider may also give you more specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your health care provider if you have any problems or questions after your procedure.


Elbows are often swollen, stiff, and sore following surgery. The recovery time will vary with the procedure done. Splints, casts or bandages will be worn for various amounts of time.


  • If physical therapy and exercises were prescribed by your surgeon, follow and perform them diligently.

  • Avoid gripping or lifting heavy objects.

  • It will be normal to be sore for a couple weeks following surgery. See your health care provider if soreness seems to be getting worse rather than better.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your health care provider.

  • Shower. Do not bathe.

  • Change dressings if necessary as directed.

  • You may resume normal diet and activities as directed or allowed.

  • Make an appointment to see your health care provider for removal of stitches or staples.

  • Applying an ice pack to the operative site may help with discomfort, keep swelling down, and speed up the healing process. To do this:

  • Put ice in a bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 3–4 times a day, for 2–3 days or as directed by your health care provider.

  • Do range of motion exercises with the elbow as directed.

  • Keep your elbow elevated and wrapped to keep swelling down and to decrease pain. This also speeds healing.


  • There is redness, swelling, or increasing pain in the wound or joint.

  • Pus is coming from wound.

  • An unexplained fever develops.

  • You notice a foul smell coming from the wound or dressing.

  • There is a breaking open of the wound (edges not staying together) after sutures or tape has been removed.


  • You develop a rash.

  • You have difficulty breathing.

  • You have chest pain.

  • You develop any reaction or side effects to medicines given.