Bone and Joint Institute


Arthroscopic debridement for primary elbow osteoarthritis with and without capsulectomy: a comparative cohort study

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Shoulder and Elbow





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© 2017 The British Elbow & Shoulder Society. Background: Arthroscopic elbow debridement for primary osteoarthritis may be performed with or without a joint capsulectomy. The purpose of this comparative cohort study was to compare range of motion (ROM) and early complications between patients with and without anterior capsulectomy. Methods: In total, 110 patients with primary osteoarthritis of the elbow who underwent an arthroscopic debridement for primary osteoarthritis were reviewed with a minimum of 3 months postoperative follow-up. The first group consisted of 51 patients who had a concomitant capsulectomy and the second group consisted of 59 patients who either had a capsulotomy or did not have the capsule addressed. Results: There was significantly greater pre-operative stiffness in the group who had an anterior capsulectomy versus those who did not. A greater improvement in arc of ROM occurred in patients who had a concomitant capsulectomy compared to patients without (24° versus 12°) (p < 0.003); however, there were no significant differences in final ROM between groups. There were no statistically significant differences in the incidence of complications between the groups (16% capsulectomy versus 18% no capsulectomy). Conclusions: Elbow arthroscopy and debridement for primary elbow osteoarthritis yields satisfactory motion at short-term follow-up with or without a capsulectomy. The incidence of early complications was low at this tertiary referral centre, with no significant differences between groups.

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