Removal of Olecranon Bursitis Surgery

Your Diagnosis

Removal of olecranon bursa surgery is done to help people with olecranon bursitis.  See Olecranon Bursitis section. 

What happens during Surgery?

Surgery takes about 15 minutes. It is done with general anesthesia meaning the person is asleep. During surgery a 3 inch incision is made over the back of the elbow. The bursa is removed and the back side of the elbow is cleaned up. Sometimes bone spurs (osteophytes) are removed. Sometimes the triceps tendon is repaired.

Immediately after Surgery

The person will wake from surgery in the recovery room where they will spend 1 to 3 hours.  Most people will then be allowed to go home when they are awake enough. The person will go home in a sling. The person cannot drive or take public transportation home. They must have a ride. 

A person may have questions following your surgery. Many of these frequently asked questions surgery questions can be answered here. 

Therapy after Surgery

After olecranon bursitis surgery, the person usually is not given any restrictions.  Some people may be given triceps precautions. Typically the person will begin therapy, to work on passive range of motion, and active range of motion. The person will be taught how to work on Elbow Stretching

What to expect after Surgery: week 0 through week 6

  • PainRight after surgery, the elbow will hurt. Pain is expected. The person will be given pain medications to go home with. The pain medications will help with the pain but will not remove the pain. By day 5 after surgery almost all people have stopped taking the pain medication. It is important to stop taking the pain medications because pain at the repair site is protective. 
  • TherapyElbow range-of-motion is usually started right away. This is usually done by the person at home without formal therapy.
  • PrecautionsThe arm is to be kept in a sling bent to 90 degrees for 2 weeks. After that the person can come out of the sling as needed or desired. The person should also keep a compression wrap around the elbow for 6 weeks.
  • WorkMost people are able to return to office jobs right away. Laborers (construction) usually cannot return until after the 2 weeks in a sling is over.

What to expect after Surgery: week 6 through week 12

  • PainThe pain is usually minimal or completely gone. The swelling should be minimal. 
  • Therapy: No therapy is usually needed after week 6.
  • Precautions: The person has no precautions after week 6.
  • WorkAlmost everybody has returned to work by the end of 6 weeks.