Arthroscopic Surgery, Arthritic Knees and Arthritic Pain



Arthroscopic surgery (arthroscopy) is a procedure wherein damaged tissue from joints are removed.

Therefore, technically speaking, this procedure should relieve arthritic knees for example.

Arthroscopic surgery for knee osteoarthritis can include a number of different procedures.

These range from lavage, which is flushing and suctioning debris from the joint, to methods like debridement for trimming damaged cartilage and bone spurs.

Surgeons might also treat the bone itself with abrasion or microfracture to stimulate the growth of new cartilage.

BUT, according to a new review of evidence, trimming damaged tissue through arthroscopic surgery does not relieve pain and swelling in arthritic knees any better than simply flushing loose debris from the joint.

However, these findings come from studies on a broad range of patients. The technique, known as arthroscopic debridement (AD), might still improve comfort and mobility in some subsets of patients with the most common form of arthritis, the review authors say.

“Surgeons should make a careful decision about using AD for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis,” said lead author Wiroon Laupattarakasem, M.D., of Khon Kaen University in Thailand. “It should by no means be regarded as inappropriate for every knee.”

Typically, those with osteoarthritis are the ones that often undergo arthroscopic surgery.

Osteoarthritis is typically a progressive disease that affects the hands, hips, shoulders and knees, especially in older people. The condition causes cartilage — which cushions the ends of bones in these joints — to break down. Loose bits of tissue can then cause pain, swelling and poor joint function.

The said review, appears in the most recent issue of The Cochrane Library.

Possible side effects of arthroscopic surgery include a small risk of infection and blood clots. Moreover, the procedure does not stop the progression of osteoarthritis. Symptoms of the disease are likely to return over time and surgical realignment or replacement of the joint could ultimately be necessary.

At this time, clinicians must make decisions regarding arthroscopic debridement on a case-by-case basis. “There may be certain types of pathology or certain levels of disease severity for which AD can be more effective,” says Laupattarakasem.

“The only osteoarthritis patients I typically consider for arthroscopic surgery are those with mild to moderate disease and mechanical symptoms in the knee,” agreed Scott Zashin, M.D., a rheumatologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Such symptoms occur when fragments of cartilage interfere with the joint, causing a painful popping sensation or even locking or buckling of the knee.

As I have always said, anything as invasive as any surgery, doesn’t come with no risks. AS the case maybe, always proceed with caution and several opinions. It is always best to discuss your options thoroughly with your doctor.

Find more details from Center for the Advancement of Health.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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