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Knee News

Arthroscopic Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis

Arthroscopic treatment of knee osteoarthritis (OA) has become an increasingly popular treatment in the last 10 years. But is there enough scientific evidence to support its continued use?

In this study, researchers from the University of Colorado review the articles published on this topic. They report problems with research methods and design that make conclusions difficult.

Some of the studies are only short-term. Others don't have a control group (group that doesn't get treated) to compare results with the treatment group. And sometimes patients in the studies had varying degrees of arthritis severity. This made comparisons difficult, if not impossible.

The authors found some studies with valuable information about the treatment of OA with arthroscopy. Only one study met all of the criteria to be a level one review. Level one is the highest level of evidence possible.

They concluded that there is limited evidence to support using arthroscopy to treat knee OA. Removing a torn meniscus or smoothing joints with low-grade OA may be the best use of arthroscopy. However, arthroscopy should not be used routinely for everyone with knee OA.


Patrick Siparsky, BS, et al. Arthroscopic Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. February 2007. Vol. 455. Pp. 107-112.

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