Osteoarthritic disease is the result of mechanical and biological events that destabilize the normal processes of degradation and synthesis of articular cartilage chondrocytes, extracellular matrix, and subchondral bone. Osteoarthritis of the knee can cause symptoms ranging from mild to disabling. Initial management of most patients should be nonoperative, but because of the progressive nature of the disease, many patients with osteoarthritis of the knee eventually benefit from operative treatment. Various procedures have been described for treatment of the osteoarthritic knee, ranging from arthroscopic lavage and debridement to total knee arthroplasty. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical results of distraction arthroplasty combined with arthroscopic lavage and drilling of cartilage defects for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Nineteen patients (15 women and 4 men; age range, 39-65 years) were operated on. Pre- and postoperative findings were compared. A control group comprising 42 patients treated with only arthroscopic procedures was evaluated for comparison. Follow-up ranged from 3 to 5 years. Results were evaluated both clinically and radiologically postoperatively and throughout the follow-up period. Clinically, pain and walking capacity improved in most patients. Radiologically, joint space widening and improvement of the tibiofemoral angle was noted in nearly all patients.
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