Elbow Arthroscopy (also called arthroscopic surgery) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which an examination and sometimes treatment of damage of the interior of the elbow joint is performed using an arthroscope, a type of endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Arthroscopic procedures can be performed either to evaluate or to treat many orthopedic conditions.
The advantage of arthroscopy over traditional open surgery is that the joint does not have to be opened up fully. Instead, for elbow arthroscopy for example, only two small incisions are made — one for the arthroscope and one for the surgical instruments to be used in the elbow cavity. This reduces recovery time and may increase the rate of surgical success due to less trauma to the connective tissue. It is especially useful for professional athletes, who and require fast healing time. There is also less scarring, because of the smaller incisions. Irrigation fluid is used to distend the joint and make a surgical space.
The surgical instruments used are smaller than traditional instruments. The area surrounding the joint is displayed on a video monitor allowing for the repair of torn joint tissue or cartilage.