Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Knee News

Cool Results after Knee Arthroscopy

During arthroscopic surgery of the knee, the surgeon flushes the joint with a saline solution. The fluid is kept at room temperature. Later an ice pack is put on the knee. The ice decreases pain and swelling. In this study researchers look at the effect of these actions on the joint temperature. They also measure the core body temperature.

New technology has brought temperature measurement systems to the operating room. These systems allow measurement of temperature inside the joint. In this two-part study, scientists measured the knee temperature before irrigating the joint. Temperature was taken every 30 seconds during the irrigation. Body temperature was also checked every 10 minutes.

Then a bag of ice was placed on the skin for one hour. Joint and body temperatures were measured to see if there was any effect. The authors report a drop in knee temperature right away with the saline flush. A lower knee temperature resulted in a slightly lower body temperature.

The results of this study show that the human temperature regulating system can keep the body temperature close to normal when the temperature inside the knee joint is lowered. Putting ice on the outside of a joint doesn't affect core body temperature much.


Guillermo Sánchez-Inchausti, MD, et al. Effect of Arthroscopy and Continuous Cryotherapy on the Intra-articular Temperature of the Knee. In Arthroscopy. May 2005. Vol. 21. No. 5. Pp. 552-556.

07/19/2005

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