Arthroscopic debridement is an operation designed for osteoarthritis of the knee. The idea is to use a keyhole operation to "clean up" ragged surfaces on the joint surfaces and the meniscal cartilages. The joint is also washed out to remove any loose debris. It is a procedure designed to buy time prior to a joint replacement rather than being a cure.
A recently published trial in which arthroscopic debridement was compared to a sham operation in which the patient was anaesthetised and two keyhole scars were made without performing the operation showed no difference in outcome between the groups. However there are many studies that suggest it is an effective treatment and many patients feel an improvement in their symptoms following this procedure.