Arthroscopy of the elbow

Clin Sports Med. 1986 Oct;5(4):653-62.


For arthroscopy of the elbow to be safe and effective, the arthroscopist must develop a systematic and reproducible arthroscopic examination technique. We believe that the technique and the identification of anatomic structures described in this article provide a safe and reliable means of performing this procedure. Attention to detail, especially when establishing the portals, is essential in performing a safe examination and in avoiding damage to the neurovascular structures. We prefer the 4-mm, 30-degree-angled arthroscope. It provides the wide field of view necessary for both diagnostic and operative elbow arthroscopy. The large percentage of excellent and good results in patients who have had correction of mechanical disorders of the elbow has been encouraging. Removal of loose bodies and resection of impinging olecranon osteophytes produced the best functional results. Chondroplasties of the radial head and capitellum produced less satisfactory results than did the correction of mechanical disorders. In conclusion, arthroscopy of the elbow is an effective diagnostic procedure and is effective in treating certain intraarticular problems with minimal morbidity and rapid return to function. However, attention to detail is essential to prevent compromise of the surrounding neurovascular structures or damage to the delicate articular cartilage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery*
  • Elbow Injuries*
  • Elbow Joint / pathology*
  • Humans