Arthroscopic Debridement of Elbow

Arthroscopic debridement of the elbow is an outpatient surgical procedure that is much less invasive than traditional surgery. Typically, it is performed under local anesthesia and can provide effective treatment for the bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage of the elbow that are damaged. The elbow is a complex and vulnerable joint. Damage to the elbow can occur from traumatic injury, overuse, or aging.

The Procedure

Small incisions are made around the elbow and a tiny camera is inserted into the incisions. The surgeon is able to examine the structures within the elbow area from the inside. The camera can be used in conjunction with other tools that the surgeon can use to treat a number of issues including:

  • Bone Spurs
  • Bursitis
  • Cartilage Damage
  • Dislocation
  • Fractures
  • Tendinitis
  • And several other conditions

Fluid is used by the surgeon to expand the joint. This makes it much clearer to notice damage. After a careful examination and diagnosis, the surgeon uses arthroscopic tools to repair the damage. The tools and camera are removed from the incisions and then closed using sutures or surgical staples. The elbow is bandaged and the procedure is complete.

The surgeon injects the fluid into the space around the elbow to expand the joint and provide a clear view. The surgeon carefully examines the joint to look for signs of damage.


Recovery is relatively quickly following arthroscopic debridement of the elbow. Patients will typically notice relief from their pain almost immediately. The use of anti-inflammatories may be used and patients need to keep the incisions dry and clean. Strenuous activity should be eliminated for one to two weeks. In many cases, physical therapy may also be involved in the treatment program. Recovery time will differ for each patient based on their health, the procedure, and their response to further therapy.