Arthroscopic Releases for Arthrofibrosis of the Knee

J Am Acad Orthop Surg November 2011 Michael R. Chen, Abstract

Intra-articular inflammation or fibrosis may lead to decreased soft-tissue and capsular compliance, which may result in pain or loss of motion within the knee. Etiology of intra-articular fibrosis may include isolated anterior interval scarring and posterior capsular contracture, as well as fibrosis that involves the suprapatellar pouch or arthrofibrosis that involves the entire synovial space. Initial nonsurgical management, including compression, elevation, and physical therapy, can decrease knee pain and inflammation and maintain range of motion. Surgical management is indicated in the patient who fails conservative treatment. Surgical options include arthroscopic releases of the anterior interval, posterior capsule, and peripatellar and suprapatellar regions. Recent advances in arthroscopic technique have led to improved outcomes in patients with intra-articular fibrosis of the knee.

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