Debridement is the process of removing dead (necrotic) tissue, bone fragments or foreign material from and around an injury in order to "clean" the impacted area and expose healthy tissue. While no different in "theory" than the maggots once used in early medicine to "clean" a wound, the "practice" has changed quite a bit.
Today a range of injuries and degenerative conditions can indicate a need for arthroscopic debridement. Once done a number of different ways including surgically with a scalpel and scissors, today arthroscopic debridement has made the procedure far less invasive than it once was.
Debridement enhances conditions for healing by - removing dead tissue prone to bacteria growth and infection, bone fragments disrupting other soft tissue and joint function, and foreign matter that the body will fight to reject (such as that which is present in gun shot wounds). Debridement may also be used to treat pockets of pus called abscesses, which could develop into a general infection that has the potential to invade the bloodstream (sepsis) and lead to severe conditions. Tissue that is burned or exposed to corrosive substances tends to form a black crust called eschar, which also requires debridement because it can inhibit wound healing.