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Open Access Technical advance

Septic arthritis of the knee: Presentation of a novel irrigation-suction system tested in a cadaver study

Atesch Ateschrang1, Dirk Albrecht1*, Steffen Schröter1, Bernhard Hirt2, Kuno Weise1 and Jürgen H Dolderer3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Traumatology and Reconstructive Surgery, BG-Trauma and Medical Centre Tübingen, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Schnarrenbergstr. 95, 72076 Tübingen, Germany

2 Institute for Anatomy, Department for Clinical Anatomy, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Elfriede-Aulhorn-Straße 8, 72076 Tübingen, Germany

3 Department of Plastic, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery, BG-Trauma and Burn Centre Tübingen, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Schnarrenbergstr. 95, 72076 Tübingen, Germany

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2011, 12:180  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-180

Published: 7 August 2011

Abstract

Background

The established treatment for bacterial arthritis of the knee joint is arthroscopic surgery with irrigation and debridement. The aim of this article is to summarize the relevant data in treating bacterial arthritis of the knee joint, and based on these findings to present a novel irrigation suction system, tested in a cadaver study, as an additional tool in the postoperative treatment phase of arthroscopic surgery for knee joint infections.

Method

The novel automated irrigation-suction system presented here was compared to conventional continuous suction irrigation in a total of six knee joints. All knee joints were filled with 80 ml methylene blue stain and rinsed by two different methods. Fluid specimens were taken after ten and twenty minutes to be compared by photometric extinction measurement at a wave length of 500 nm.

Results

After ten minutes, the average extinction was e1C = 0.8 for the continuous suction irrigation and e1N = 0.4 for the novel irrigation-suction system. After twenty minutes, we recorded an average extinction of e2C = 0.3 for continuous suction irrigation and e2N = 0.001 for the novel irrigation-suction system. The students t-test revealed superior results after ten and twenty minutes of washing out the knee joints with a p < 0.001 for the novel irrigation-suction system.

Conclusion

A novel irrigation-suction system may be an effective tool for postoperative knee joint irrigation in arthroscopic therapy for bacterial arthritis of the knee. Further animal studies are needed to verify the effects in vivo.