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Elbow surgery

Expert treatment for problems and injuries of the elbow.

If you’re living with pain or stiffness in your elbow, every day can feel like a challenge. But it doesn’t have to.  

At The Clementine Churchill Hospital, we specialise in the treatment of bones and joints (also known as orthopaedics). Our elbow specialists – also known as Orthopaedic surgeons – are experts in the field. They can investigate and diagnose your elbow problems and build a treatment plan that’s tailored to your individual needs.  

When you choose to go private with us, your treatment will be led by a Consultant from start to finish. They will work closely with other experts at our hospital in harrow – from Pain Management Consultants to Physiotherapists – to create a customized treatment plan that should manage, reduce or even eliminate your symptoms.  

Understanding your elbow


Your elbow is a hinge joint that is formed of three bones: your humerus (the bone in your upper arm) and two adjacent bones in your forearm, called the radius and the ulna. What we mean by ‘hinge joint’ is that your elbow allows you to bend, straighten and rotate your forearm.  

Various issues – most commonly elbow injury or arthritis – can cause damage to this hinge joint and its surrounding tissues such as your cartilage, bones, tendons (connective tissues that attach muscle to your bone) and ligaments (tissues that link one bone to another).  

At The Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow, your Orthopaedic Surgeon will not usually consider surgery until less invasive treatments such as physiotherapy, pain relief medication or injection therapy have all been exhausted.  

So, while you may book in for an initial consultation with an Orthopaedic Surgeon, this doesn’t necessarily mean you will be recommended surgery. We always want to try non-surgical methods first if we can.  

What conditions can be treated with elbow surgery?


Elbow surgery will be considered if you have severe damage to the inside of your elbow joint from:  

Osteoarthritis: Almost nine million people in the UK suffer from osteoarthritis. It occurs when the protective covering that cushions your joint wears down causing pain and stiffness. 

Fracture (broken bone): A fracture is a break or crack in one or more of the bones in your elbow. This can cause significant discomfort and pain. For example, a radial head fracture (a fracture at the top of your radius) can cause swelling, pain, and make it difficult or impossible for you to rotate your forearm. 

Golfer’s elbow: Medical epicondylitis, more commonly known as golfer’s elbow or baseball elbow, occurs when the tendons on the inside of your elbow become inflamed, causing pain around the inner side of your elbow. Golfer’s elbow is often caused by activities that involve repetitive bending movements of your wrist such as typing or playing certain sports, for example golf or baseball.  

Tennis elbow: Lateral epicondylitis, also referred to as tennis elbow, can cause pain on the outside of your elbow. An overuse of your forearm muscles is a common cause of tennis elbow.  

Common symptoms that can lead to elbow surgery in Harrow


Your Orthopaedic Surgeon at The Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow will also consider elbow surgery if your symptoms are affecting your quality of life. These symptoms could include:  

Significant pain: Constant pain can impact your quality of life by disturbing your sleep, affecting your mental health and stopping you from working or participating in social activities. At The Clementine Churchill Hospital, your Orthopaedic Surgeon can perform an arthroscopy to investigate your pain. An arthroscopy can also be used to relieve symptoms caused by tennis elbow.  

Severe stiffness: Conditions such as a fracture or osteoarthritis can trigger severe stiffness in your elbow. If your bones have become displaced (come out of their normal position) or pierced your skin after a fracture, you will need surgery to put the broken parts of your bone back into their correct position. But if your bone is broken in too many places or the ends of your bones have become severely damaged from osteoarthritis, you will require elbow replacement surgery. This will involve removing and replacing the broken parts of your bone with artificial components.  

Poor sleep: Your pain can interfere with your sleep by causing pain when you roll over or sleep on your affected side. Poor sleep can lead to a heightened sensitivity to pain causing your pain to feel worse over time.  

Whether you choose to book your consultation online or call us on X, our Orthopaedic Specialists at The Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow offer fast access to a diagnosis and treatment for your symptoms. 

At The Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow, we offer a variety of elbow surgeries, including:  

Elbow arthroscopy


An elbow arthroscopy is a keyhole operation that uses two to four incisions around your joint to pass an arthroscope (a thin tube containing a camera) into your elbow. This allows the inside of your elbow to be seen on a video monitor. 

Your Consultant can use these images to diagnose and sometimes treat your symptoms. This could include many different procedures, from removing bone fragments inside your joint to shaving away bone spurs (abnormal bony growths) that have grown as a result of osteoarthritis.  

Golfer’s elbow surgery


Golfer’s elbow surgery will involve releasing (cutting) your inflamed tendon. It is generally considered only after alternative treatment options such as physiotherapy exercises and a brace to support your elbow have all been tried.  

Tennis elbow surgery


Your tennis elbow surgery can be performed through an elbow arthroscopy or through an open operation, which uses a single larger incision. After locating your affected tendon, your Consultant will make an incision to release (cut) your inflamed tendon. Any bone spurs or scar tissue around this area will also be removed.  

Total elbow replacement surgery


During total elbow replacement surgery, your Consultant will remove and replace the damaged ends of your humerus and ulna with artificial components. These components will consist of a hinge with two stems to fit into the hollow of your ulna and humerus. This will form your new elbow joint.

During your initial consultation at our hospital in Harrow, your Orthopaedic Surgeon will discuss your symptoms and medical history. Your Consultant will then perform a diagnostic assessment to determine the cause of your symptoms. This will include a physical examination of your elbow and, in some cases, an X-ray to assess the condition of your joint and bones.  

After a diagnosis has been confirmed, your Consultant will work with medical specialists across our hospital to create a customised treatment plan. Depending on your diagnosis, this might comprise non-surgical treatments such as pain medication or physiotherapy, or it might be that you are recommended elbow surgery.   

If you are advised to have surgery, you will need to attend a preoperative assessment with a Nurse at The Clementine Churchill Hospital. Your Nurse will measure your blood pressure, height, weight, and heart rate to ensure you are fit to have surgery. This preoperative assessment is also an opportunity to learn more about your operation from your Consultant. Be sure to ask them any questions you might have. We always want you to feel informed and comfortable throughout the whole process.  

On the day of your operation at The Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow, you will be transferred to an operating theatre. Your Consultant will either administer a local anaesthetic, which numbs the specific site of your operation, or a general anaesthetic, which makes you sleep for the whole operation.

After your operation at The Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow, you will be taken to a recovery ward at our hospital, where a Nurse will offer you refreshments and ask about any pain or discomfort following your operation. They will be able to get you pain medication if you need it.  

During your stay at our hospital in Harrow you’ll be seen by a Physiotherapist, who will show you tailored exercises to support your recovery. Physiotherapy after elbow surgery will include exercises to help you rotate, bend, and straighten your forearm.  

Once your Consultant is happy with the progress of your recovery, you will be discharged from our hospital. If you have had an arthroscopy, you will be able to leave our hospital in Harrow the same day. But if you have had a joint replacement, you will need to stay overnight with us, normally between two to five days. 

Elbow replacement recovery timeline


After your joint replacement operation, you will need to wear a support such as a sling for at least six weeks. You will be shown how to put this on and take it off, which you’ll need to do when doing your physiotherapy exercises or showering. 

At six to eight weeks, you will be able to safely drive again. You can also work and perform light activities such as gardening. However, it will take more than 12 weeks to safely return to any activities that involve overhead movements.  

After 12 weeks, you will be well on your way to recovery. 

Tennis elbow surgery recovery timeline


After an arthroscopy or surgery for tennis or golfer’s elbow, you can return to your normal activities as soon as you feel ready to do so. But you should avoid driving until you have complete control over your vehicle. 

For the first twelve weeks after your operation, your Consultant will advise that you avoid any heavy lifting or repetitive movements. 

As with any operation, there are potential complications that could occur following your surgery. These include:  

A loosening or dislocation of your prosthesis: If your artificial joint from a replacement becomes loose or dislocated, your Orthopaedic Surgeon can perform revision surgery to replace these components 

Bruising: It is normal to have some bruising around the location of your operation and this will resolve gradually with time 

Infection: Your Orthopaedic Surgeon can provide you with antibiotics or perform further surgery to treat an infection 

Blood clots: After your operation, you will be given medication and shown circulation exercises to help prevent blood clots 

At The Clementine Churchill Hospital, you can pay for elbow surgery using private medical insurance, or you can pay for the treatment yourself.   

If you are paying for your own treatment, the cost of your private elbow treatment will vary depending on which surgery you are having.  

The cost of your treatment will be confirmed in by writing by your Orthopaedic Surgeon after your consultation and any necessary diagnostic tests. The price for the first appointment and for any tests you have during it will be charged separately. But the cost of your aftercare is included in the fixed-price package, allowing you to focus on your recovery.  

When you pay for yourself, there are flexible payment options available so that you can spread the cost over one to five years. Often payments are interest-free for the first 12 months.  

When you choose to go private with The Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow for your treatment, you will benefit from:  

  • Private en-suite hospital rooms with TV, WiFi and a phone 
  • A restaurant to provide you and your friends or family members who are visiting our hospital with a menu of delicious meals, which can be adapted to your dietary requirements 
  • An onsite pharmacy and physiotherapy department  
  • Free car parking for every patient
  • Fast access to a high-quality care, with nearly 97% of patients stating that they would recommend our hospital in Harrow to their loved ones 
To book your appointment with one of our Orthopaedic Specialists, you can call us on 0208 8723872 or book your appointment online today. 

Specialists offering Elbow surgery

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Mr John Murphy

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

BSc (Hons), MB ChB, FRCS (Eng), FRCS (Orth)

The Clementine Churchill Hospital

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Mr Joseph Perez

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MB BS, FRCS (Trauma and Orthopaedics)

The Clementine Churchill Hospital

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Mr Ghassan Al-Yassari

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MB ChB, FRCS, MSc (Tr & Orth), FRCS (Tr & Orth), CCT (Tr & Orth)

The Clementine Churchill Hospital

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Mr Nawfal Al-Hadithy

Trauma & Orthopaedic Consultant

MBBS, BSc, MSc Sports & Exercise Medicine, Diploma in Medical Education, FRCS (Tr & Orth)

Bishops Wood Hospital 1 more The Clementine Churchill Hospital

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Mr Rupen Dattani

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

BSc(Hons), MBChB, MRCSEd, MD, FRCSEd(Tr&Orth)

Bishops Wood Hospital 1 more The Clementine Churchill Hospital

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