Arthroscopic decompressive medial release of the varus arthritic knee: Expanding the functional envelope.


We present the rationale and technique for treating medial knee osteoarthritis by dynamically unloading the medial compartment of the knee. Recent advances in kinematic studies indicate a dynamic linkage between differing degrees of freedom in the knee joint. Both the adduction moment and the foot progression angle are important determinants of medial compartment loading. The medially osteoarthritic knee has progressive compromise of free motion in more than 1 plane. Arthroscopic decompressive medial release unloads the medial compartment by release of the medial capsule and medial collateral ligament in the presence of intact cruciate ligaments, which may allow a decreased adduction moment and decrease of the external rotation restraint in extension found in more severely osteoarthritic knees. A case series of 38 patients with medial gonarthrosis was treated by this technique at the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital in Havana, Cuba. All patients had good results without postoperative valgus instability or significant complications. We feel that this technique warrants further clinical and biomechanical study for its use in isolation or in combination with high tibial osteotomy or minimally invasive selective osteotomy for the treatment of medial gonarthrosis of the knee. A minimally invasive, selective approach to biomechanical factors in osteoarthritis may be combined with other modulating techniques in efforts to forestall or prevent the need for total joint replacement.


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@article{Len2001ArthroscopicDM, title={Arthroscopic decompressive medial release of the varus arthritic knee: Expanding the functional envelope.}, author={Heriberto Ojeda Le{\'o}n and Cailos E Blanco and Todd B Guthrie}, journal={Arthroscopy : the journal of arthroscopic & related surgery : official publication of the Arthroscopy Association of North America and the International Arthroscopy Association}, year={2001}, volume={17 5}, pages={523-6} }