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Arthroscopy. 2005 Jun;21(6):731-8.

A study of effectiveness of knee arthroscopy after knee arthroplasty.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Georg-August University, Göttingen, Germany.



The purpose of this study was to investigate the outcome of arthroscopy in painful knee arthroplasty without evidence of infection, fracture, wear, and component loosening or malposition that had been refractory to conservative treatment. In addition, a literature review of 498 cases (MEDLINE 1966 to 2002) was performed.


Case series.


From 1997 to 2000, 27 patients (20 women, 7 men) had undergone arthroscopies because of poor results following total knee arthroplasty. Before the operation, the patients had suffered symptoms for an average of 11 months (range, 3 to 41 months). The average onset of symptoms after knee arthroplasty was 26 months (range, 3 to 59 months). The average patient age was 70 years (range, 42 to 81 years) and the average follow-up was 34 months (range, 24 to 52 months). At the initial operation, 19 patients had received total condylar surface replacement and 8 had received hemireplacement. Patients were evaluated using the Knee Society rating system. A review of the literature was performed by initial identification of the articles from a MEDLINE database followed by the use of cross references.


All of the patients were available for follow-up. Eighteen of the 27 procedures resulted in an improvement in the patient's knee score. The average Knee Society ratings increased from 71 points before arthroscopy to 85 at follow-up for the knee score. The average functional scores were 69 and 83 points, respectively. The Knee Society pain score improved from 32 to 41 points. Nine patients underwent a subsequent open revision after arthroscopic diagnosis or treatment. Operative diagnoses included arthrofibrosis, impinging hypertrophic synovitis, impinging posterior cruciate ligament stump, prosthesis loosening or wear, symptomatic pseudomeniscus, an infrapatellar spur, and meniscal rupture. There was 1 infection as a complication associated with the arthroscopic procedure.


Arthroscopic treatment of painful knee arthroplasty provides reliable expectations for improvement in function, decrease in pain, and improvement in knee scores for most patients.


Level IV, Case Series.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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