In this prospective follow up study we evaluated and compared the effect of arthroscopic lavage with and without debridement as a treatment of moderately osteoarthritic knees in middle aged and elderly population. The study group comprised of 500 patients (250 patients for each type of treatment, mean age 58 years). The patients were followed six months, three years and six years postoperatively. Following both treatments there was a clear deterioration in function of the knee function over the time, as measured starting at six months follow up until six years postoperatively (p < 0.001). This deterioration was more prominent in patients after treatment by the arthroscopic lavage only. We show that for the patients with high functional demand and expectations for long term rehabilitation and improvement both arthroscopic treatments are not satisfactory in more of 60% of cases.
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