J Korean Orthop Assoc.  2011 Feb;46(1):88-94. 10.4055/jkoa.2011.46.1.88.

Rapid Chondrolysis of Knee Joint after Arthroscopy Using Radiofrequency Device

  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. hacw@skku.edu


We report the cases of 3 young individuals, each of whom presented to our hospital for the evaluation and treatment of sudden onset chondrolysis. Previously, all 3 individuals had undergone arthroscopic knee procedures over a similar time at another hospital. In this paper, we review the possible problems that cause chondrolysis during or after arthroscopic procedures, such as the followings: use of thermal treatment, occult infection with Propionibacterium acnes, idiopathic or iatrogenic osteochondral injury, high temperature of fluid during arthroscopic irrigation, improperly placed implants, and the use of an intra-articular pain pump. We can exclude other causes of chondrolysis through the clinical course of the patients and surgical records and progress records. We conclude that the possible cause of chondrolysis in all cases was due to thermal injury caused by high temperatures, which decreased or blocked the irrigation fluid flow generated during arthroscopy.


chondrolysis; knee; thermal injury; irrigation fluid
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