An elbow arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which the interior of the elbow joint is examined and treated using an arthroscope which is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Irrigation fluid is used to distend the joint and make a surgical space. Surgeons then view the joint area on a video monitor allowing them to diagnose and repair torn joint tissue or cartilage using specialized surgical instruments which are smaller than those traditionally used.
Arthroscopic procedures can be used to evaluate and treat many orthopedic conditions. The advantage of an arthroscopy over traditional, open surgery is that it minimizes the trauma of surgery. For example, in an elbow arthroscopy, only a few small incisions are made—at least one for the arthroscope and one for the surgical instruments to be used in the elbow cavity. This reduces recovery time and can increase the rate of surgical success due to less trauma to the connective tissue. There is also less scarring due to the smaller incisions.