What Arthroscopic Procedures Are Available for Elbow Cartilage Repair?

As a procedure used to diagnose and treat joint problems, arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows the orthopedic surgeon to take a close look inside the elbow joint. To repair the damaged cartilage, there are multiple types of arthroscopic surgeries, depending on the specific problem the patient has concerning their elbow:

  • debridement: it involves smoothing the cartilage and removing loose edges to prevent it from rubbing and irritating other parts of the body
  • bone marrow stimulation: during this procedure, the surgeon drills tiny holes, known as microfractures, under the cartilage and exposes the blood vessels inside the bone, which is meant to cause a blood clot to form inside the cartilage that will trigger the creation of new cartilage
  • mosaicplasty: the surgeon takes healthy, undamaged cartilage from one area and moves it to the damaged site and the procedure is only suitable for isolated areas of cartilage damage, typically limited to 10-20 millimeters
  • autologous chondrocyte implantation: a tiny portion of cartilage is removed and subsequently taken to a laboratory, where it is grown to produce more cartilage cells, and after 1 to 3 months, the new cartilage cells are placed into the elbow to develop into healthy cartilage

The procedure the patient will undergo will highly depend on the particularities of their elbow cartilage damage and the severity of their case. Only a reputable, experienced orthopedic surgeon can guide the patient and help them make the wisest decision when it comes to elbow cartilage repair.