Arthroscopic and open debridement in primary elbow osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Huub H. de Klerk*, Chantal L. Welsink, Anne J. Spaans, Lukas P.E. Verweij, Michel P.J. van den Bekerom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Primary osteoarthritis (OA) of the elbow can cause disabling symptoms of pain, locking, stiffness, and a limitation in the range of motion. There is no consensus regarding the role of open and arthroscopic debridement in the treatment of symptomatic primary elbow OA. The aim of this study is to systematically review the outcome of surgical debridement. A preoperative/postoperative comparison will be made between the two surgical procedures. All studies reporting on debridement as treatment for primary elbow OA with a minimum of one-year followup were included. Outcome parameters were functional results, complications, and performance scores. Data were extracted from 21 articles. The arthroscopic group consisted of 286 elbows with a weighted mean follow-up of 40 ± 17 months (range, 16–75). The open group consisted of 300 elbows with a weighted mean follow-up of 55 ± 20 months (range, 19–85). Both procedures showed improvement in Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS), range of motion (ROM) flexion-extension, and ROM pronation-supination. Only in ROM flexion was a statistically significant difference in improvement seen between the groups in favour of the open group. The arthroscopic group showed improvement in pain visual analogue scale (VAS) scores. Nothing could be stated about pain VAS scores in the open group due to a lack of data. In the arthroscopic group 18 complications (6%) were described, in the open group 29 complications (12%). Surgical debridement is an effective treatment for the disabling symptoms of primary elbow OA with an acceptable complication rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)874-882
Number of pages9
JournalEFORT Open Reviews
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • arthroscopic debridement
  • open debridement
  • primary elbow osteoarthritis


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