The arthroscopy procedure is performed under general or regional anesthesia. A fiberoptic camera is inserted through a small incision, or ‘portal,’ in the wrist or elbow. The camera lens magnifies and projects the small structures onto a television monitor, allowing the orthopedic surgeon to accurately diagnose the condition.
Wrist arthroscopy may be used to smooth bone surfaces and removed inflamed tissue and can be used to treat chronic wrist pain, wrist fractures, carpal tunnel syndrome, ganglion cysts, and tears in the ligaments or triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC). Arthroscopy can also be utilized for wrist fractures; orthopedic surgeons can remove small fragments and fracture debris, align the broken pieces of bone, and stabilize them by using pins, wires, or screws.
Elbow arthroscopy has recently become useful in a procedure treating cubital tunnel syndrome, or ulnar nerve compression. It is also used for other conditions such as tennis elbow, post-traumatic contracture releases, arthritis, and loose body removal.