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Arthritis Rheum. 1993 Mar;36(3):289-96.

A randomized, controlled trial of arthroscopic surgery versus closed-needle joint lavage for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.

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1
Multipurpose Arthritis Center, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare arthroscopic surgery and closed-needle joint lavage for patients with non-end-stage osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee under controlled, experimental conditions.

METHODS:

Thirty-two subjects who met specific clinical, radiologic, medical, and rehabilitation criteria were randomized to receive arthroscopic surgery (n = 18) or joint lavage (n = 14). Outcome measures evaluated at baseline and at 3 and 12 months of followup included 3 standard clinical parameters, self-reported pain and functional status (by the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales), 50-foot walk time, 2 global scales, and direct and indirect medical costs.

RESULTS:

At 3 months of followup, there were no significant between-group differences in pain, self-reported and observed functional status, and patient and "blinded" physician global assessments. The arthroscopic procedure cost $3,840 more than did closed-needle joint lavage. After 1 year, there were no between-group differences in medication costs, utilization of medical services, or indirect costs related to employment or use of household help. After 1 year, 44% of subjects who underwent arthroscopy reported improvement and 58% of subjects who underwent joint lavage improved. Patients with tears of the anterior two-thirds of the medial meniscus or any lateral meniscus tear had a higher probability of improvement (by "blinded" physician assessment) after arthroscopic surgery (0.63) than did patients with other intraarticular pathology (0.20).

CONCLUSION:

The search for and removal of soft tissue abnormalities via arthroscopic surgery does not appear justified for all patients with non-end-stage OA of the knee who fail to respond to conservative therapy, but it may be beneficial for certain subgroups.

PMID:
8452573
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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