The surgical removal of an elbow bursa sack is an inpatient procedure, meaning that it requires a stay at the hospital, despite the fact that it is simple and does not disturb any muscles or ligaments, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. It grows back over several months.
Surgery for an elbow bursa is often performed because the inflammation is due to an infection that does not respond to antibiotics and drainage, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Surgery is sometimes required, however, even for inflammation that is not due to an infection. In either case, a splint is often applied directly after the procedure, but prolonged immobilization is generally not necessary. The injuries to the skin usually heal within two weeks. Full use of the arm is generally allowed between three and four weeks after surgery.
Prior to removing the bursa surgically, doctors usually attempt other treatments, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. These include draining the fluid from the bursa with a needle, a procedure known as aspiration, which is performed in an outpatient setting. Fluid removal both relieves symptoms and allows for testing for any infection. Elbow pads, combined with changes in activities and anti-inflammatory medications, help in treating non-infectious inflammation.