Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incidence of neurologic complications after elbow surgery and to provide perioperative tips and potential pitfalls for neurologic complications and how to cope with them. Methods: A single orthopedic surgeon performed 2759 elbow-related surgical procedures between January 2006 and October 2014. The surgical records and the postoperative follow-up of all 2759 patients were retrospectively reviewed to determine the preoperative diagnosis, the type of procedure, and postoperative neurologic complications. Results: Neurologic complications were very uncommon. Neurologic deficit occurred in 10 of 2759 elbow operations. A neurologic complication occurred 4 distal biceps tendon surgeries (5.3%), 4 elbow arthroscopies (0.4%), 2 ligament reconstructions (0.7%), and 2 total elbow prosthesis (1.4%). Conclusions: A thorough understanding of the 3-dimensional anatomy of the elbow and surrounding nerves is needed to avoid neurologic complications. The neurologic complications we encountered in our series are well within the limits of earlier reports and show that elbow surgery is a relatively safe procedure to perform for a wide variety of indications.
- Risk factors