(Removal of Bursa)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
A bursectomy is the removal of one or more of the fluid-filled sacs (bursas) near a joint.
Reasons for Procedure
The bursa helps muscle and tendons move smoothly over bones. An inflamed bursa can cause pain, limit movement, and limit activities.
This surgery is done to remove a bursa that has not been helped by other methods.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor may give:
Description of the Procedure
Small cuts are made by the joint. A scope is passed through the holes. It has a camera that will let the doctor see the area.
Tools are passed through the scope. They are used to remove the bursa and any scar tissue.
The scope and tools will be removed. The holes will be closed with stitches. A bandage will be placed over the area. A brace or sling may be used to support the joint.
How Long Will It Take?
It may take 30 minutes to up to 2 hours. It will depend on the location of the bursa.
Will It Hurt?
Pain and swelling are common in the first few days. Medicine and home care can help.
At the Hospital
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
During your stay, staff will take steps to lower your chance of infection, such as:
You can also lower your chance of infection by:
It will take several weeks for the joint to fully heal. Physical activity may need to be limited during recovery. You may need to ask for help with daily activities and delay return to work for a few weeks.
Call Your Doctor
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Arthroscopy Association of North America
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
The Canadian Orthopaedic Association
When it Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Arthroscopy. American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at:
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Accessed September 28, 2020.
Bursectomy. Cooper University Health Care website. Available at: https://www.cooperhealth.org/services/bursectomy. Accessed September 28, 2020.
Del Buono A, Franceschi F, et al. Diagnosis and management of olecranon bursitis. Surgeon. 2012 Oct;10(5):297-300.
Olecranon bursitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/olecranon-bursitis. Accessed September 28, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated: 6/8/2021
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