Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Sports Med. 2007 Oct;35(10):1702-7. Epub 2007 Jul 20.

Arthroscopic evaluation of radiofrequency chondroplasty of the knee.

Author information

  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, University of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Ave, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.



Considerable debate exists over the use of radiofrequency-based chondroplasty to treat partial-thickness chondral defects of the knee. This study used second-look arthroscopy to evaluate cartilage defects previously treated with bipolar radiofrequency-based chondroplasty.


Partial-thickness articular cartilage lesions treated with bipolar radiofrequency-based chondroplasty will show no progressive deterioration.


Case series; Level of evidence, 4.


One hundred ninety-three consecutive patients underwent bipolar radiofrequency-based chondroplasty over 38 months; 15 (25 defects treated with bipolar radiofrequency-based chondroplasty) underwent repeat arthroscopy for recurrent or new injuries. Time from the initial to repeat arthroscopy ranged from 0.7 to 32.7 months. At both procedures, the location, size, grade, and stability of lesions were evaluated, recorded, and photographed arthroscopically.


At the initial procedure, 25 lesions treated using bipolar radiofrequency-based chondroplasty ranged from 9 to 625 mm2 (mean, 170.2 +/- 131.2 mm2; median, 120 mm2); at second look, lesion size was 9 to 300 mm2 (mean, 107.7 +/- 106.7 mm2; median, 100 mm2). At second look, 3 (12%) demonstrated unstable borders with damage in the surrounding cartilage that appeared to be progressive. Eight (32%) lesions were unchanged in size. Eight (32%) demonstrated partial filling with stable repair tissue, and 6 (24%) demonstrated complete filling with stable repair tissue. Lesions in the tibiofemoral compartments showed better response to radiofrequency chondroplasty than did those within the patellofemoral joint (P < .05).


Only 3 of 25 lesions demonstrated progression. More than 50% showed partial or complete filling of the defect. Bipolar radiofrequency chondroplasty is an effective way to treat partial-thickness cartilage lesions; however, long-term effects of this treatment on cartilage remain unknown.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Support Center