How Is Elbow Cartilage Damage Diagnosed?

Cartilage damage follows a significant injury to the elbow, such as a dislocation or fracture. However, it can also be the result of osteoarthritis or normal wear and tear from age and activity. To diagnose elbow cartilage damage, the physician will ask the patient about the symptoms they experience, which usually include swelling, joint pain, stiffens, and a clicking or grinding sensation.

If they suspect cartilage damage, they will refer the patient to several medical specialists to determine how severe the damage is. The patient will undergo one or both of the following:

  • MRI scan: using a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed, complex images of the inside of the body, this exam allows the orthopedic surgeon to see what is wrong with the elbow cartilage
  • Arthroscopy: this is a minimally invasive procedure that entails one or several tiny incisions in the elbow area, through which the arthroscope – a tube with a camera – is inserted to examine the elbow joint and cartilage, and the surgeon can also perform cartilage repair while the patient undergoes this procedure if their problem is not extremely complex