The good news is that wherever possible, elbow surgery will be performed as a day case, meaning that you can go home the very same day as your procedure. In rare cases, patients may be asked to stay overnight so that the initial stages of their recovery can be closely monitored, and you can be provided with adequate pain medication.
If your elbow surgery has been performed, arthroscopically it will reduce the risk of complications and scarring and is proven to result in less post-operative pain.
However, although elbow surgery can be performed in this way, it can still take time to heal and recover fully from your procedure.
How long is recovery from elbow surgery?
Most patients can expect to return to their usual daily activities within two to six weeks, and back to work within three to ten weeks depending on their job role. Nevertheless, it can take as long as a year to heal from some types of severe trauma to the elbow.
As with any recovery from surgery, it’s crucial that you follow the advice and guidance given to you by your care team, which will include vital information such as when to take pain medication and when to return to work. Following this advice will help ensure that you minimise your risk of complications and recover as quickly as possible.
When it comes to getting back to your chosen sport, exactly how long you’ll have to wait will weigh heavily on your recovery process and how good you are at following the instructions given to you by your orthopaedic surgeon.
It’s important that you don’t try to significantly increase your physical activity levels until you’ve been given the express permission of your elbow surgery care team. Doing so could cause new injuries that could set your recovery back further.
When can I drive after elbow surgery?
The minimally invasive techniques used to perform elbow surgery mean that patients can get back to their usual activities more quickly than they might expect.
Most patients find that they can start driving again after around four weeks, but this really depends on the type of elbow surgery you’ve had and how well your body recovers. If you’ve had a tendon or ligament repair, it could take up to eight weeks to heal properly.
Will I be in pain after my elbow surgery?
It probably comes as no surprise that pain and discomfort rank as one of the biggest concerns of orthopaedic surgery patients. However, like most other orthopaedic procedures, the discomfort you are likely to experience following elbow surgery will be fairly minimal.
The effects of your general anaesthetic could last for up to 24 hours following your surgery, and you will be prescribed some initial pain medication to keep you comfortable. However, most patients quickly learn to cope by taking a combination of anti-inflammatory medications (which also help to tackle swelling and associated pain) and paracetamol-based products.
Prescription pain relief is rarely needed, but if you find that you are in considerable discomfort following your surgery and over-the-counter pain relief isn’t effective, speak to your London elbow surgery care team to see what help is available.