This minimally invasive outpatient surgical procedure, performed under local anesthetic, removes bits of bone, cartilage or other tissue that have broken free and are floating within the knee joint. The broken fragments of bone, cartilage and other tissues are collectively referred as loose bodies. The loose bodies can cause pain, swelling, locking and catching of the joint.
Individuals with a degenerative joint disease such as arthritis, osteoarthritis or osteochondritis dissecans are more likely to develop loose bodies in the knee. Other causes of loose bodies’ development include fractures, trauma, bone and cartilage inflammation, and benign tumors of the synovial membrane. In addition, loose bodies are commonly found in individuals who participate in sports, since they are more susceptible to fractures and other sports injuries.
Diagnostic tests such as x-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and MRI are performed to locate the loose bodies, which are then removed through the arthroscopic procedure. Surgery is performed depending on the location and size of the loose bodies.