Elbow arthroscopy is generally used for simple manipulations of the joint. For instance, a patient with a compound fracture may have multiple fragments of the bone removed through arthroscopic surgery, but a replacement prosthetic most likely would not fit through a portal. It is also very useful for arthritis, as tools capable of debriding can be inserted and used to smooth out the problematic bone surfaces in a minimally invasive manner.
However, arthroscopy is not nearly as prevalent in elbow surgery as it is in other joint specialties such as the knee. This is because the small structure of the joint requires very specialized training so the surgeon does not disturb the multiple nerves crossing the joint. This forms an inherent risk in any procedure in the elbow, but more so in arthroscopy due to its nature of camera insertion.