What is Arthroscopic Debridement of the Elbow?

Arthroscopic debridement of the elbow is a procedure used to clear damaged tissue from the elbow joint. A small camera called an arthroscope is used during this procedure to let the surgeon view the inside of the elbow.

Who needs Arthroscopic Debridement of the Elbow?

If conservative treatments do not help, conditions such as tennis elbow, cartilage or bone damage, or arthritis may benefit from arthroscopic debridement of the elbow. This procedure may also be used for diagnostic purposes as well, as the use of the arthroscope lets the surgeon see the inside of the elbow joint. This makes it easier to assess damage and the correct course of treatment.

What are the steps in Arthroscopic Debridement of the Elbow?

Initial Incisions Made

Local anesthesia and a sedative are administered to the patient, although sometimes general anesthesia is used. After anesthesia is applied, the surgeon makes several small incisions around the elbow. A small camera called an arthroscope is inserted into one of the incisions, while small tools are inserted in the others.

Examining the Elbow

One of the small tools is used to pump fluid into the joint in order to expand it. This makes the procedure easier to perform by allowing the surgeon more room and providing a clearer picture from the arthroscope. The surgeon uses the arthroscope to inspect the joint to determine the extent of damage.

Joint Repair

Once the damage has been assessed, the surgeon uses the other tools to remove or repair any damage. Any loose bodies are removed in a process called debridement. Any bone spurs are filed down, and loose or damaged cartilage is removed.

End of the Procedure

After debridement is completed and tools are removed, all incisions are closed with surgical staples or sutures. The elbow is then bandaged.

After Surgery

This procedure is often performed as an outpatient procedure. You may be prescribed pain medication and rehabilitation exercises after the surgery. Length of recovery time depends on your adherence to any physical therapy exercises prescribed.

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