Elbow and Forearm Infections

The elbow, like the shoulder is well perfused with ample blood supply allowing for circulating white blood cells to offer excellent protection against infection and, consequently an elbow infection is uncommon.

Pathology

Types of Tumors

  • Benign
  • Malignant

Benign tumor is an abnormal growth of a particular cell type presenting as a mass. The benign tumor is normally excised when the size of the mass is large enough to put pressure on the surrounding tissue and cause pain, or when the mass is cosmetically unsightly.

Malignant tumors bear the common name of “cancer.” These are tumors that divide aggressively and destroy the tissue planes around them. They eventually metastasize or travel to other parts of the body.

The only tumors treated at ROC about the elbow are benign tumors.

These include:

  • Lipomas or Fatty Tumors – They cause symptoms when they develop to a large size
  • Articular (joint) Ganglion Cysts – Commonly develop in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Bony Tumors like Osteochondromatosis, or Heterotopic Ossification – Their presence causes pain due to the space occupying effect

Malignant tumors about the elbow are referred to MD Anderson because of their expertise and success in handling malignant tumors with a team approach and because of their proximity to our office.

Treatment

Benign tumors about the elbow are treated by simple excision. If tumor excision requires deep dissection to the joint, therapy after surgery to avoid an elbow contracture is often used. Most benign soft tissue tumors excised about the elbow have full return of elbow function within four weeks of surgery.