Elbow Bursitis Surgery. What does cortisone injection do to the body and does it make you sleepy? Olecranon Bursitis Removal

After 15 years of working doing therapeutic sports recovery bodywork as an LMT, it has finally caught up with me. I recently had a cortisone injection for my right elbow bursitis after the elbow was drained of a lot of bursa fluid that had blood in the vile. Update: Just finished right elbow Bursa- Olecranon Bursitis removal (08/29/23)  surgery. I did some research on these subjects and this is what I found. Update 9-11-23 : My elbow keeps filling up with fluid so I’m doing more research on this also. See below

Also see my other post at : https://santabarbaradeeptissue.com/index.php/2023/06/17/elbow-osteoarthritis-osteophytes-and-elbow-bursitis/

BTW- I recommend that all bodyworkers wear these on both their elbows – Learn from my mistakes!


Cortisone injections or shots are a common treatment that doctors prescribe for musculoskeletal issues. Cortisone is a steroid and also has many other medical applications. Dermatologists, for example, use it to treat certain skin conditions and to reduce inflammation.

While it is possible to drain a bursa sac yourself, it is generally not recommended. This is because there is a risk of further injury or infection. Additionally, the procedure can be quite painful. If you are considering draining a bursa sac yourself, be sure to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider first.

  • Surgical Treatment: If bursitis does not respond to these treatments, surgery may be considered to remove the bursa sacThere are several different surgical procedures that have been described, but traditionally the sac is removed in its entirety through an incision directly over the back of the elbow. The major problem with surgery is that healing incisions on the back of the Incision wounds normally take about 10 days to heal but this can depend greatly on the type of surgery that was performed (arthroscopic vs. open surgery). Most patients find significant improvement from about 6 to 12 weeks after the surgery. There are times, of course when the area will become quite sore and then go away again – this is often due to movement and stresses put on the post-surgical area.*
  • elbow can lead to wound healing problems and infection. Most surgeons recommend trying to avoid surgery for this condition if possible.

How Long Will It Take To Recover From A Bursectomy?

(*”Trochanteric Bursitis Surgery Sydney NSW | Hip Injury Treatment Darlinghurst.” Hipandkneesurgery.com.au. N. p., 2018. Web. 18 Oct. 2018.)

In most cases, a new bursa will grow back within a couple of weeks after a bursectomy. The new bursa will most likely be healthy and will not have the pain and inflammation that may have been experienced with the removed bursa.


Pre Surgery


Post Elbow Surgery

This is exactly what was done to me.








After surgery the elbow keeps swelling up










After removal surgery of the elbow mucosal olecranon bursa the fluid keeps coming back, why?

The persistent accumulation of fluid in the olecranon bursa after its removal, known as bursitis recurrence, can be caused by various factors. While I’m not a medical professional and cannot provide a definitive diagnosis, here are some potential reasons for the recurrent fluid buildup:

  1. Incomplete Removal: If the olecranon bursa was not completely removed during the surgery, even a small portion of the bursa can lead to fluid production and recurrence.

  2. Infection: Infection in the surgical site can lead to the formation of pus and fluid accumulation. Infections can sometimes be resistant to treatment, requiring additional interventions.

  3. Reinjury or Overuse: Physical activities or movements that put excessive strain on the elbow joint, especially soon after surgery, can lead to irritation and fluid production in the area.

  4. Inflammation: Persistent inflammation around the olecranon bursa, which may not have been fully resolved by the surgery, can contribute to fluid buildup.

  5. Underlying Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, can lead to recurrent bursitis even after surgical intervention.

  6. Poor Postoperative Care: Inadequate postoperative care, such as not following recommended rest, immobilization, and rehabilitation protocols, can contribute to complications and recurrence.

  7. Foreign Bodies: Sometimes, foreign bodies or particles left in the surgical area can trigger inflammation and fluid buildup.

  8. Secondary Causes: Fluid buildup may be a secondary symptom of an underlying medical issue, so it’s essential to consider any systemic conditions that might be contributing to the problem.

To address recurrent olecranon bursitis after surgery, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional, preferably the surgeon who performed the procedure or a specialist in orthopedics. They can conduct a thorough evaluation, which may include imaging tests like ultrasound or MRI, to determine the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment options. Treatment may include draining the fluid, antibiotic therapy if infection is present, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or, in some cases, a revision surgery to address any issues that were not resolved during the initial procedure.

Why does the bursa in my elbow keep filling up?
Elbow bursitis in inflammation in the olecranon bursa — the fluid-filled sac that protects and cushions your elbow joint. It’s usually caused by overuse from your job or activities like sports. You’ll probably only need at-home treatments to help your bursa heal. Most people recover in three to six weeks.
How do you remove fluid from the elbow bursa?
If your elbow bursitis is the result of an infection, your orthopedic doctor will perform a needle aspiration to remove the fluid from the bursa. This will help relieve the symptoms you are experiencing and provide a sample to send to a lab for testing.
Will fluid on the elbow go away?
Fortunately, elbow bursitis typically improves within a few weeks with conservative treatments. These conservative treatment include icing the elbow, wearing elbow pad or compression sleeves, over-the-counter pain medications, cortisone injections, and using a needle to drain excess fluid from the bursa.
Why won’t my elbow bursitis go away?
If you have elbow bursitis because of an infection, you may have to take antibiotics that your doctor prescribes. Take the medication as directed to fight the infection. If you don’t see improvements in pain and swelling in your elbow after taking these steps for 3 to 4 weeks, let your doctor know.
How do you reduce fluid in bursa?
If you have severe bursitis, your doctor may use a needle to remove extra fluid from the bursa. You might wear a pressure bandage on the area. Your doctor may also give you a shot of medicine to reduce swelling. Some people need surgery to drain or remove the bursa.
What to expect after bursa removal?
Do not engage in prolonged periods of standing or walking during the first 7-10 days after surgery. Avoid long periods of sitting (without leg elevated) or long distance traveling for 2 weeks. The first two days after surgery you can expect a small amount of red-tinged drainage on your dressings. This is normal.
What are the complications of olecranon bursa removal?
In this study we demonstrated that wound healing after simple olecranon bursectomy is not easily achieved. Prolonged exudation occurred in more than 25% of the patients, and rest (arm sling or even plaster splint) was necessary.
What happens after bursa is removed?
In most cases, a new bursa will grow back within a couple weeks after a bursectomy. The new bursa will most likely be healthy and will not have the pain and inflammation that may have been experienced with the removed bursa.
What causes chronic elbow inflammation?
The most common cause of elbow pain is inflammation of one or both of the elbow’s two tendons. This is called tendinitis, and it is often the result of overuse. Repetitive movements from everyday work, household chores, golf, or tennis can affect the muscles above and below the elbow and cause tendinitis.

more info at:





Drainage of the olecranon bursa. Inflamed olecranon bursa, ulna, humerus, lateral epicondyle.

Should elbow bursitis be drained?
If the bursa is also infected with bacteria, surgery is often recommended right away in order to drain pus or remove the entire bursa. But if you don’t have an increased risk of complications, you can wait: The bursa is only removed if it’s still inflamed after several days of treatment with antibiotics.
What happens if you don’t drain bursitis?
Septic Bursitis: The Serious Side of Bursitis | Arthritis-health
If you are diagnosed with septic bursitis, antibiotic treatment will begin as soon as possible. Your doctor may also recommend draining the infected bursa. If septic bursitis is left untreated, the fluid inside the bursa can turn into pus.

Can the bursa sac burst?

This is why pain associated with knee bursitis typically worsens with the bending of the knee and improves when the knee remains straight. If the bursitis is left untreated, the fluid-filled sack has the potential to rupture. This could then lead to an infection of the surrounding skin.
Is fluid on the elbow serious?
It is also important for a doctor to rule out underlying conditions that may be causing EB. A person must seek medical attention right away if they experience any of the following symptoms: pain, swelling, and redness in the elbowany pus or drainage near the elbow.
What causes the bursa to fill with fluid?
The most common causes of bursitis are injury or overuse, but it can also be caused by infection. Pain, swelling, and tenderness near a joint are the most common signs of bursitis.
What kind of doctor drains a bursa sac?
If a bursa becomes inflamed and does not respond to medical treatment of bursitis a surgeon may recommend a procedure that drains excess fluid from the bursa or removes the inflamed bursa altogether.
How do I know if my elbow bursitis is septic?
Patients with septic bursitis are more likely to present with pain or tenderness overlying the bursa, edema, erythema, and warmth. Patients may also have signs of trauma or wounds and lesions with or without symptoms of cellulitis.
What kind of fluid is in a bursa?
The most common bursa in the human body are synovial bursae, which are most common near large joints in the extremities, are located between tissues, and are defined as thin, synovial membrane sacs. [5] A capillary film of synovial fluid on the inner surface of the sac surfaces acts as a lubricant.
What foods trigger bursitis?
Foods that can trigger inflammation may make your pain worse so these are ones to avoid if you can. This includes processed foods (ready meals, sliced meat), caffeine, fizzy juice, sugars (cakes, biscuits, etc.), and alcohol.
Does bursitis show up on an X-ray?
Doctors can often diagnose bursitis based on a medical history and physical exam. Testing, if needed, might include Imaging tests. X-ray images can’t positively establish the diagnosis of bursitis, but they can help to exclude other causes of your discomfort.
Can stress trigger bursitis?
The primary causes of bursa sac inflammation are sudden trauma, long-term joint stress, and infections.
How long does it take for a cortisone shot to work in the bursa?
Elbow bursitis symptoms may be quickly relieved with corticosteroid injections. A corticosteroid is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication, and injecting it directly into the inflamed olecranon bursa is usually effective in relieving pain and swelling.
The effect of the injection will start usually 5 to 7 days after the injection. This can decrease your symptoms. At some point, most people feel less or no pain in the tendon, bursa, or joint after a steroid injection. Depending on the problem, your pain may or may not return.
Does a cortisone injection in the bursa hurt?
As with any injection, there is sometimes a dull ache for a few hours after the procedure. There might be an area of numbness around the injection site, for 1 or 2 hours, due to the local anesthetic. Some bruising and a few spots of blood at the site of the injection might occur.
What is a bad reaction to a cortisone shot?
Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine. Using too much of this medicine or using it for a long time may increase your risk of having adrenal gland problems.
Do you need to rest after a cortisone injection for bursitis?
After a cortisone injection, it is strongly advised to rest the affected joint for 24 hours and refrain from doing strenuous activity or exercise for several days. Resting after the injection is vital to reduce inflammation effectively. The doctor will then give you instructions for after the injection. This will generally include completely resting the limb or the part of the body injected for 6 hours, and then limiting its use for between 1 and 3 days, sometimes longer. As a general rule, we suggest that you rest for a minimum of 2 days after a steroid injection
Why does my elbow hurt worse after a cortisone shot?
There are two causes of flaring after the shot. They are Needle puncture: This is rare, but your body may react to the needle injury with inflammation and pain. Crystallization: Cortisone can form crystals in the body.
What should you not do after a cortisone shot?
Protect the injection area for a day or two. For instance, if you received a cortisone shot in your shoulder, avoid heavy lifting. If you received a cortisone shot in your knee, stay off your feet when you can. Apply ice to the injection site as needed to relieve pain.
What are the 5 common side effects of steroids?
Side effects of steroid tablets
  • increase appetite – which may lead to weight gain if you find it difficult to control what you eat.
  • acne.
  • rapid mood swings and mood changes – becoming aggressive, irritable, and short-tempered with people.
  • thin skin that bruises easily.
  • muscle weakness.
  • delayed wound healing.
Is it normal to have throbbing pain after a cortisone shot?
A cortisone flare is the most common immediate side effect of a cortisone injection. Some people may notice a flare-up of pain in the joint for the first 24 hours after receiving the injection, although this is rare. The discomfort can often be managed by taking over-the-counter painkillers.
Why didn’t my cortisone shot in my elbow work?
If the first cortisone injection doesn’t provide pain relief, your doctor may try a second injection four to six weeks later. Albert Einstein said it best. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Regrettably, this is the approach adopted by many providers and must be avoided.
Can you get a headache from a cortisone shot for elbow bursa?
You may experience discomfort, bruising, or swelling in the joint for a day or two after the injection. There’s also a slight risk of infection. Other potential side effects include Headaches. One known side effect of a corticosteroid injection is a headache. Not all patients who receive corticosteroid injections experience this side effect, but it is a possibility,” says Dmitriy Dvoskin, M.D., a board-certified pain management and physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist practicing in New York City.
Can steroids cause headaches and dizziness?
Most short-term prednisone side effects, like headaches, nausea, and weight gain, go away once the dose is lowered or the steroid is stopped altogether. Other potential side effects—like vision problems and osteoporosis —may be permanent.
How long do cortisone headaches last?
Generally, pain after cortisone injection is the most common side effect. We call this reaction a cortisone flare. Usually, a cortisone flare starts after 6 hours and lasts up to 5 days. One study suggested that a cortisone flare can last up to 4 days.
How do you get rid of a cortisone shot headache?
Anti-inflammatory medications: You may want to take an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) like Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen). It will reduce the symptoms of your cortisone flare
Can steroids cause migraine headaches?
Prednisone in itself can cause migraine attacks if excessive amounts have been taken over a long period of time. Prolonged steroid therapy can produce significant side effects and strict medical supervision is important.
Is brain fog a side effect of steroids?
“Additionally we have shown that long-term treatment of steroids can block its effectiveness at all times of day and could contribute to the brain fog experienced by many people on steroids.
How long will a steroid shot affect blood pressure?
Similarly, a transient increase in blood pressure can also occur after a cortisone injection although again this typically goes away within 5-7 days after the injection
Is it normal to feel weird after steroids?
Some people experience an improved mood, while others feel more depressed. Mood swings are common, too. In rare cases, people experience disorientation and hallucinations — a condition called “steroid-induced psychosis.”
What is the difference between a steroid shot and a cortisone shot?
“Steroid” is short for corticosteroid, which is different from the hormone-related steroid compounds that some athletes use. You may hear them called cortisone injections, cortisone shots, steroid shots, or corticosteroid injections. Steroids ease inflammation and slow your immune system.
Do cortisone shots affect your heart?
Corticosteroid treatment has been previously associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and hyperglycemia. Oral corticosteroid treatment may also be an independent risk factor for ischemic events, particularly during treatment.

Cortisone Shots Pros & Cons

What is a corticosteroid injection/cortisone shot?

Cortisone is a type of steroid that mimics your body’s natural corticosteroid hormones (cortisone and hydrocortisone) produced by the adrenal glands. They are not the same as anabolic steroids sometimes misused by athletes and bodybuilders. Unlike anabolic steroids, corticosteroids don’t increase your muscle strength.

What do cortisone shots help with?

Corticosteroids that are used appropriately can help a variety of conditions such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfers elbow
  • Bursitis of the hip, knee, or shoulder
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Herniated disc
  • Rotator cuff injury
  • Tendonitis
  • Knee pain/joint pain

Cortisone Shot Cons

Cortisone shots’ ability to almost entirely relieve pain is extraordinary, but some negatives exist. The side effects that a cortisone shot can trigger may counterbalance or outweigh its ability to reduce pain and inflammation.

Cortisone Shot Side Effects

According to the National Institutes of Health, the side effects from cortisone shots include:

  • Dizziness or headaches.
  • Skin issues, including dryness, thinness, acne, dry skin, and red or purple blotches.
  • Fatigue and trouble sleeping.
  • Mood swings and disturbances.
  • Increased appetite, weight gain, and water retention.

More Serious Cortisone Shot Side Effects Include:

  • Vision problems.
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
  • Swelling in various areas of the body.
  • Rash, hives, and itching.

Side effects can vary from person to person. They could be mild or severe. They might appear with short-term use or never show up at all. Long-term, repeated administration of cortisone shots can be particularly problematic, as frequent injections in the same joint can damage it, as well as the surrounding soft tissue.

It’s important to remember that cortisone injections alter your immunity function, lowering the inflammatory response that your body mounts to fight injury and infection. This will reduce pain and swelling, but it can leave you susceptible to infections and other issues.

What Are the Pros of Cortisone Shots?

While cortisone shots can offer substantial pain relief to some people, cortisone is not actually a pain reliever. Cortisone works because it reduces swelling and inflammation, which are major contributors to some painful conditions.

Another advantage of cortisone injection is that the doctor administers the shot at an injection site directly where it is needed. This means that the drug’s effect is limited to a specific area and you avoid having your entire system exposed to a high concentration of the drug.

Olecranon Bursitis 


Discuss in depth the science and research for Elbow Bursa Surgery removal and the recovery

Elbow bursa surgery, also known as olecranon bursa excision or bursectomy, is a medical procedure performed to remove the bursa sac located at the back of the elbow joint. The bursa is a small fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between the bones, tendons, and skin, reducing friction and allowing smooth movement. However, when the bursa becomes inflamed or swollen, a condition called olecranon bursitis can cause pain, swelling, and limited movement in the elbow. If non-surgical treatments such as rest, ice, and medication fail to provide relief, surgery may be considered.

Here’s an in-depth discussion of the science and research related to elbow bursa surgery removal and the recovery process:

Indications for Elbow Bursa Surgery: Elbow bursa surgery is typically considered when conservative treatments fail to alleviate symptoms and the patient experiences persistent pain, swelling, limited range of motion, and impaired function in the affected elbow. Olecranon bursitis can be caused by various factors, including trauma, infection, repetitive stress (me), or underlying medical conditions such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.

Surgical Procedure: The surgical procedure for elbow bursa removal involves the following steps:

  1. Preparation: The patient is positioned appropriately, and anesthesia is administered to ensure comfort during the procedure. General anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation may be used.

  2. Incision: The surgeon makes an incision over the swollen bursa, typically on the back of the elbow. The size of the incision depends on the severity of the condition.

  3. Bursa Removal: The surgeon carefully removes the inflamed bursa sac. Special care is taken to avoid damaging nearby structures, such as tendons and nerves.

  4. Closure: After the bursa is removed, the incision is closed using sutures or staples. Sometimes, a drain might be inserted to prevent the buildup of fluid and aid in healing.

  5. Dressing: The incision site is covered with a sterile dressing, and a splint or bandage might be applied to provide support to the elbow.

Recovery Process: The recovery process following elbow bursa surgery involves several phases:

  1. Immediate Postoperative Period: After the surgery, patients are typically monitored in a recovery area until the effects of anesthesia wear off. Pain medications and antibiotics might be prescribed to manage pain and prevent infection.

  2. Initial Healing: In the days following surgery, the incision site needs to be kept clean and dry. Patients might wear a splint or brace to protect the surgical site and promote healing.

  3. Physical Therapy: Depending on the surgeon’s recommendations, patients might start physical therapy a few weeks after surgery. Physical therapy focuses on regaining elbow mobility, strength, and function. Gentle range-of-motion exercises are gradually introduced to prevent stiffness.

  4. Gradual Return to Activities: Patients can usually start to use their elbows for light activities as instructed by their surgeon. However, more strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided until the surgeon gives the green light.

  5. Full Recovery: The complete recovery timeline varies from patient to patient, but most individuals can expect a full recovery within a few months. It’s important to follow the surgeon’s postoperative instructions, attend follow-up appointments, and communicate any concerns during the recovery period.

Research and Advances: Research in the field of elbow bursa surgery primarily focuses on refining surgical techniques, improving patient outcomes, and reducing complications. Advances in minimally invasive techniques, such as arthroscopic bursectomy, aim to minimize tissue damage and speed up recovery times.

Studies also explore the optimal timing for physical therapy initiation, the effectiveness of various pain management strategies, and the long-term outcomes of patients who undergo surgery compared to those who opt for non-surgical treatments.

Complications and Considerations: As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with elbow bursa surgery. These can include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, scarring, and persistent pain. Following the surgeon’s instructions regarding wound care, activity restrictions, and rehabilitation can help minimize these risks.

In conclusion, elbow bursa surgery is a procedure performed to alleviate the symptoms of olecranon bursitis when conservative treatments are ineffective. Research in this field aims to improve surgical techniques, enhance patient outcomes, and optimize recovery processes. Patients undergoing this surgery should be well-informed about the procedure, follow postoperative guidelines, and actively participate in their recovery for the best possible results.


Recovery From Elbow Bursa Surgery

Elbow bursitis develops when the thin sac of fluid between the skin and the elbow’s pointy tip becomes inflamed. When this happens, it can cause swelling, pain, redness, and heat in the elbow. These symptoms can cause the elbow to look deformed and make it difficult for you to perform day-to-day activities. There are a variety of non-surgical treatments for elbow bursitis, including rest, antibiotics (to treat infections), anti-inflammatory medications, and corticosteroids. Most patients are able to recover using these treatments.

When conservative treatment methods fail to work, your doctor may recommend elbow bursa surgery. This typically applies to patients who have chronic elbow bursitis. The procedure will involve removing the defective bursa. Elbow bursa surgery is generally an outpatient procedure and is a fairly short surgery to perform.

Elbow bursa surgery can be performed arthroscopically using minimally invasive techniques. The surgeon will make a very small incision through which miniature tools will be used to perform the surgery. Recovery from elbow bursa surgery will be shorter when minimally invasive techniques are used.

Elbow Bursa Removal Recovery

Recovery from elbow bursa surgery generally takes about a month. Immediately following the surgery, you will most likely wear a splint to immobilize the elbow while it recovers. Elbow bursa surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, so there is no need for a hospital stay. However, if there are complications or if your overall health is impacted, your surgeon may recommend a short hospital stay.

For the first few days following surgery, it is best to have someone with you who can help you move around the house and perform basic functions. Once you heal a little and get used to the immobilization, you will be able to do a lot of day-to-day functions on your own.

After some recovery, you will be asked to begin physical therapy. This will help strengthen your elbow, improve flexibility and mobility, and lessen pain symptoms. The sooner and longer you perform physical therapy exercises, the better results you will get. It will also help shorten your recovery.

Minimally invasive elbow bursa surgery can help shorten your recovery period and reduce your pain symptoms. Minimally invasive techniques cause less trauma to your body, which means there is less “healing” to be done following surgery. Not everyone is a good candidate for minimally invasive surgery. Talk to your surgeon about whether this is a good option for you.



Discuss in depth the science and research for Elbow bursitis and cortisone injections for the elbow

Elbow bursitis, also known as olecranon bursitis, is a condition characterized by inflammation of the bursa sac located at the tip of the elbow. The bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between bones, tendons, and muscles, reducing friction during movement. When the bursa becomes inflamed, it can cause pain, swelling, and limited mobility in the affected elbow.

Causes of Elbow Bursitis:

  1. Repetitive Stress: Elbow bursitis can develop due to repetitive movements or activities that put pressure on the elbow joint, such as leaning on the elbow for extended periods.
  2. Trauma: A direct blow to the elbow can lead to bursitis, causing the bursa to fill with fluid and become inflamed.
  3. Infection: In some cases, bacteria can infect the bursa, resulting in infectious elbow bursitis, which is more severe and may require different treatment approaches.

Diagnosis: Elbow bursitis is usually diagnosed through a physical examination, medical history review, and sometimes imaging tests such as X-rays or ultrasounds to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms. Aspiration, a procedure in which fluid is extracted from the bursa, may also be performed to analyze the fluid and determine the cause of the inflammation, especially in cases of infectious bursitis.

Conservative Treatment: In mild cases of elbow bursitis, conservative treatment is often the first line of management. It may include:

  1. Rest: Avoiding activities that aggravate the condition helps reduce inflammation.
  2. Ice: Applying ice packs to the affected area can alleviate pain and swelling.
  3. Compression: Wearing a compression bandage may help reduce swelling.
  4. Elevation: Elevating the arm can help reduce fluid accumulation in the bursa.

Cortisone Injections: Cortisone injections, also known as corticosteroid injections, are commonly used in the treatment of elbow bursitis when conservative measures fail to provide relief. Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medications that are directly injected into the inflamed bursa. The goal is to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

Mechanism of Cortisone Injections: Cortisone is a synthetic version of cortisol, a hormone produced naturally by the body’s adrenal glands. It works by suppressing the immune system’s inflammatory response. When injected into the bursa, cortisone reduces the production of inflammatory substances, leading to a decrease in swelling and pain.

Effectiveness of Cortisone Injections: Cortisone injections can be highly effective in providing short-term relief from the symptoms of elbow bursitis. Many patients experience a significant reduction in pain and swelling within a few days after the injection. However, it’s essential to note that cortisone injections are not a cure for the underlying cause of bursitis and may not prevent future flare-ups.

Risks and Side Effects: While cortisone injections can be beneficial, they are not without risks. Potential side effects include temporary flare-ups of pain, thinning of the skin at the injection site, discoloration, and weakening of the nearby tendons. Additionally, repeated cortisone injections can lead to further damage to the tissues and joints, so doctors typically limit the number of injections given to a patient.

Conclusion: Elbow bursitis is a condition that can cause discomfort and limit the functionality of the affected elbow. Cortisone injections can be a valuable tool in managing inflammation and providing short-term relief. However, it’s crucial for individuals with elbow bursitis to work closely with their healthcare providers to determine the best treatment plan, as cortisone injections should be used judiciously and in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches to address the root cause of bursitis.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery for an infected bursa. If the bursa is infected and it does not improve with antibiotics or by removing fluid from the elbow, surgery to remove the entire bursa may be needed. This surgery may be combined with further use of oral or intravenous antibiotics. The bursa usually grows back as a non-inflamed, normally functioning bursa over a period of several months.

Surgery for the noninfected bursa. If elbow bursitis is not a result of infection, surgery may still be recommended if nonsurgical treatments do not work. In this case, surgery to remove the bursa is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. The surgery does not disturb any muscle, ligament, or joint structures.

Recovery. Your doctor will apply a splint to your arm after the procedure to protect your skin. In most cases, casts or prolonged immobilization are not necessary.

Although formal physical therapy after surgery is not usually needed, your doctor will recommend specific exercises to improve your range of motion. These are typically permitted within a few days of the surgery.

Your skin should be well healed within 12 to 16 days after the surgery, and after 3 to 4 weeks, your doctor may allow you to fully use your elbow. Your elbow may need to be padded or protected for several months to prevent re-injury.

It is an outpatient procedure with little downtime afterward. After the procedure, your doctor will splint your arm to protect it from reinjury and infection and recommend a physical rehabilitation program to begin a few days after surgery to strengthen your muscles and improve your range of motion.

Does a bursectomy require general anesthesia?
A bursectomy is performed either under general anesthetic or under local anesthetic. It depends on where the inflamed bursa is found. If it is in the shoulder joint, a bursa is often removed with a [shoulder joint endoscopy].
Should I have my elbow bursa removed?
Elbow bursitis — inflammation of the bursa — is typically treated with rest, corticosteroid shots, anti-inflammatory medicines, and fluid drainage. Elbow surgery may be necessary if the bursa has become infected and hasn’t responded to fluid removal or antibiotic treatment.
What is the surgical treatment for elbow bursitis?
When conservative treatment methods fail to work, your doctor may recommend elbow bursa surgery. This typically applies to patients who have chronic elbow bursitis. The procedure will involve removing the defective bursa. Elbow bursa surgery is generally an outpatient procedure and is a fairly short surgery to perform.
Do they put you to sleep for bursitis surgery?
You’re given an anesthetic before the surgery to prevent pain. Doctors may use local or general anesthesia for the procedure. Once you’re numb or asleep, the doctors make the incisions and insert the tools. The tools detach and remove the bursae and any scar tissue.
What happens if elbow bursitis goes untreated?
If the bursa is infected, the skin becomes red and warm. If the infection is not treated right away, it may spread to other parts of the arm or move into the bloodstream. This can cause serious illness. Occasionally, an infected bursa will open spontaneously and drain pus.
How long does it take to recover from bursa sac elbow surgery?
They may also immobilize the joint with a splint or brace. Recovery after elbow surgery for bursitis is generally short because it does not involve other joint structures, such as muscles and ligaments. Full use of the elbow typically returns in the month following surgery.
What is the success rate of a bursectomy?
Both types of proximal procedures included bursectomy and local debridement. All studies reported a significant improvement in symptoms or satisfaction rates of 72% to 100%. Because multiple various outcome measures were used, it was difficult to compare the results of different surgical methods.
How long is elbow bursitis surgery?
Patients usually stay overnight and are discharged after drain removal the following morning. The wound will take 2 weeks to heal. The main risks are fluid accumulation in the excised space (resorbs over 6 weeks), wound problems, and infection. The bursa usually reforms but recurrent swelling is rare.
What is the success rate of elbow bursitis surgery?
A few years ago, only patients aged over 40 were treated with radiosynoviorthesis. Today, this treatment is used in an increasing number of younger patients. The success rate for radiosynoviorthesis of olecranon bursitis is between 50 and 80%, depending on the localization and the amount of inflammatory activity.
Does the bursa grow back after bursectomy?
At the same time, a bursectomy is performed to remove all the inflamed and scar-like tissue. A new bursa grows back but after removal of the bone, it grows back in a normal rather than inflamed condition. At the time of surgery, the rotator cuff is inspected to make sure that it is not torn.
What are the complications of elbow bursa surgery?
The main risk of olecranon excision surgery is hematoma/seroma from blood or tissue fluid filling the space where the bursa was removed. The pressure bandage reduces this risk. Other less common risks include wound healing problems, infection, and recurrence of swelling.
What to expect after bursa removal?
Do not engage in prolonged periods of standing or walking during the first 7-10 days after surgery. Avoid long periods of sitting (without leg elevated) or long-distance traveling for 2 weeks. The first two days after surgery you can expect a small amount of red-tinged drainage on your dressings. This is normal.
Does elbow bursa grow back after bursectomy?
After it is removed, another (noninflamed) bursa will grow back in its place, usually within a few months. This surgery can be performed as a minimally invasive procedure, without disturbing nearby joints, muscles, and/or ligaments.

Discuss in-depth Elbow Bursitis Surgery, the recovery, and the success rate


Elbow bursitis surgery, also known as olecranon bursitis surgery, is a medical procedure performed to treat severe or chronic cases of elbow bursitis that have not responded to conservative treatments such as rest, ice, compression, and medication. Elbow bursitis is a condition in which the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac located over the bony prominence at the back of the elbow (the olecranon), becomes inflamed and swollen. Surgery is typically considered when the bursitis is causing significant pain, limiting range of motion, or interfering with daily activities.

Surgical Procedure: The surgical approach for elbow bursitis may vary depending on the specific case and the surgeon’s preference. However, the general steps involved in the surgery are as follows:

  1. Preparation: The patient is usually administered anesthesia, which can be local, regional, or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the surgery and the patient’s overall health.

  2. Incision: A small incision is made over the swollen area of the elbow. The incision allows the surgeon to access the bursa and remove it, along with any inflamed tissue.

  3. Bursa Removal: The surgeon carefully removes the inflamed bursa sac. In some cases, the bursa may be partially removed, and in others, it may be completely excised.

  4. Drainage and Cleaning: Any excess fluid or debris in the area is drained, and the surgical site is thoroughly cleaned.

  5. Closure: The incision is then closed using sutures or staples, and a sterile dressing is applied.

  6. Postoperative Care: After surgery, the patient’s arm may be placed in a splint or brace to immobilize the elbow and facilitate healing.

Recovery: The recovery process after elbow bursitis surgery varies from person to person and depends on factors such as the extent of the surgery, individual healing capacity, and adherence to postoperative instructions. Generally, the recovery timeline involves several stages:

  1. Immediate Postoperative Period: During the initial days after surgery, the focus is on pain management, wound care, and preventing infection. The patient may be advised to keep the arm elevated to reduce swelling.

  2. Physical Therapy: As healing progresses, the patient may begin physical therapy to regain elbow range of motion and strength. Physical therapy exercises are gradually introduced to prevent stiffness and promote optimal function.

  3. Splint/Brace: The splint or brace may be worn for a few weeks to protect the surgical site and support the healing process.

  4. Return to Activities: Depending on the type of surgery and the individual’s progress, patients may gradually return to light activities. Full recovery and return to strenuous activities may take several weeks to a few months.

Success Rate: The success rate of elbow bursitis surgery is generally high, with most patients experiencing relief from pain and improved elbow function. However, success can depend on various factors, including the following:

  1. Early Intervention: Success is more likely when surgery is performed before the bursitis becomes chronic and causes irreversible damage.

  2. Proper Rehabilitation: Following the postoperative rehabilitation plan, including physical therapy exercises, is crucial for achieving optimal outcomes.

  3. Patient Compliance: Adhering to postoperative instructions regarding wound care, activity restrictions, and follow-up appointments is essential for a successful recovery.

  4. Underlying Conditions: Success may be influenced by the presence of any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or autoimmune disorders, that can affect healing.

  5. Surgeon’s Skill: The skill and experience of the surgeon play a significant role in the success of the procedure.

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications, such as infection, excessive scarring, nerve damage, and recurrence of bursitis. It’s important for patients to have a thorough discussion with their healthcare provider before opting for surgery and to follow the recommended aftercare guidelines for the best possible outcome.

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