Olecranon Bursa Excision

Lee Hunter MD, MBA

Hunter Medical Founder and Chief Medical Officer

January 2018


Olecranon bursitis is a common problem that occasionally requires surgical treatment. Supine positioning is ideal for these procedures.  Excision of larger olecranon bursas can be complicated by instability of the humerus and drifting of the surgical field, making many of these cases unnecessarily difficult and frustrating.


The patient had a large right olecranon bursa that had failed chronic conservative care with repeated cortisone injections and compressive garments. Given the size, and his persistent symptoms, surgical treatment was offered. There was no history of infection, arthritis, gout, or other inflammatory process.

The Procedure

   The patient was positioned supine utilizing the ElbowLOC® Arm Positioning System. A standard posterior approach was made. The bursa sac was sharply dissected from the overlying dermis and proximal ulna periosteum and excised en bloc. Redundant skin was removed and the wound closed in layers. The patient’s recovery was unremarkable.

While certainly this procedure does not absolutely require a positioning device, humeral instability and the subsequent constant “drift” of the surgical field complicates these cases. The posterior surface of the bursa sac is usually densely associated with the dermis, and thus sharply dissecting the bursa sac off the dermis requires a stable surgical platform to prevent unnecessary skin injury. The unique ability of the ElbowLOC® to hold the humerus fixed vertically, while allowing the surgeon unrestricted control of the forearm and elbow simplifies and expedites these procedures.

This case is another great example of how the ElbowLOC® simplifies and accelerates procedural times for many elbow surgeries and makes surgery easier for the surgeon, patient, and staff!