The off-spinner's second-innings figures of six for 90 at Headingley saw him finish with a match haul of 10 for 132, which led England to a 247-run win over New Zealand and a 2-0 series win.
The 34-year-old, who missed the away series against the same opposition as he recovered from an operation on the troublesome elbow joint, told Sky Sports 1: "The elbow feels great, I'm very thankful to the surgeon Shawn O'Driscoll - he probably saved my career, good man."
The impressive figures came at a ground where Swann has traditionally struggled and was even left out during last year's series against South Africa.
But he benefited from the number of left-handers in the New Zealand team, both in the batting line-up and with the rough created by seamers Trent Boult and Neil Wagner.
He added: "I'm not a bitter man, I don't think (about last year) - I just mentioned to Cookie that it's a good job he wasn't captain then! The world should have left-armers in their team, left-hand batsmen or bowlers, it's better for me."
While Swann claimed the man-of-the-match award, it was Joe Root who was named man of the series after scoring 104 in the first innings here and an impressive 71 at Lord's.
And captain Alastair Cook was full of praise for both his star men, saying: "Obviously it's great for Rooty to get a hundred. It was a fantastic hundred in pretty tough batting conditions that first day - it swung all day.
"Credit to the New Zealand bowlers, they put us under a lot of pressure on that first day and the way he responded with a hundred was fantastic.
"Swanny has done it for a few years for us now and to get 10 wickets here was a great effort."
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