During elbow arthroscopy, the surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into the elbow joint. This camera displays live video to a screen that helps guide miniature surgical instruments during the surgery. Because the arthroscope and surgical instruments are thin, which results in less pain for patients and shortens the recovery time.
The elbow is a complex joint formed by the joining of the humerus (upper arm bone), ulna (forearm bone on the pinky finger side), and radius (forearm bone on the thumb side). The ligaments stabilize the elbow joint and helps prevent dislocation. The synovial membrane is a thin, smooth tissue that covers surfaces inside the elbow joint and lubricates the cartilage eliminating almost any friction as the arm is moved, bend or rotated.
Elbow arthroscopy may relieve painful symptoms of problems that damage the cartilage surfaces and other soft tissues surrounding the joint. Elbow arthroscopy may be required to remove loose pieces of bone and cartilage, or release scar tissue that is preventing full range of motion. Common arthroscopic procedures include treatment of tennis elbow, osteoarthritis, fractures, and rheumatoid arthritis.