What Is the Surgical Procedure to Remove an Elbow Bursal Sac?

The surgical procedure to remove an elbow bursa sac is an elbow bursectomy, according to Cooper University Health Care. Although most bursa problems resolve with rest and anti-inflammatory medication, surgical treatment is sometimes necessary when the condition is severe or chronic and limits movement or affects the patient’s quality of life.

Surgical removal is an acceptable treatment for both infected and noninfected bursa, maintains OrthoInfo. The removal of an infected elbow bursa usually involves an overnight hospital stay. Oral and intravenous antibiotics supplement the removal of the bursa to cure the infection. After the surgery a normal, noninfected bursa typically grows back over the course of several months.

Surgery to remove a noninfected elbow bursa typically takes place on an outpatient basis, states OrthoInfo. The surgery is usually a minimally invasive, arthroscopic procedure done through a small incision over the elbow with the aid of a miniature camera. Recovery involves a period in a splint to protect the skin and reduce movement. Patients begin exercises to promote recovery and improve range of movement only a few days after surgery.

The skin is usually fully healed by 14 days after a bursectomy, reports OrthoInfo. Most patients resume full use of the treated elbow within four weeks.