When is arthroscopy indicated for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA)?

Updated: Jun 10, 2020
  • Author: Carlos J Lozada, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Arthroscopy is indicated for removal of meniscal tears and loose bodies; less predictable arthroscopic procedures include debridement of loose articular cartilage with a microfracture technique and cartilaginous implants in areas of eburnated subchondral bone (see the images below). These treatments have varying success rates and should be performed only by surgeons experienced in arthroscopic surgical techniques. [137, 138, 139] Overall, arthroscopy is not recommended for nonspecific “cleaning of the knee” in osteoarthritis.

Arthroscopic view of a torn meniscus before (top) Arthroscopic view of a torn meniscus before (top) and after (bottom) removal of loose meniscal fragments.
Arthroscopic view of an arthritic knee. Arthroscopic view of an arthritic knee.
Arthroscopic view of a knee after the removal of l Arthroscopic view of a knee after the removal of loose fragments of articular and meniscal cartilage.
Arthroscopic view of the removal of cartilaginous Arthroscopic view of the removal of cartilaginous loose body.

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