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An accurate and sensitive imaging method for diagnosing arthrofibrosis and identifying the affected tissues is urgently needed. Due to the current lack of diagnostic biomarkers the diagnosis of arthrofibrosis has been based on non-specific symptoms, particularly a loss of range of motion (ROM) in the joint, and pain. However, a significant amount of scar tissue can be present in a joint and have minimal impact on ROM. After infection is ruled out (or treated), tests for inflammation can be useful, together with imaging. 
An ultrasound-guided injection of anaesthetic into the infrapatellar fat pad (IFP) is a useful method to determine the extent of IFP involvement as a pain generator. In our experience when a knee is painful and fibrotic IFP is typically inflamed due to repeated scissoring in the joint.

Cytokine Panel

Traditional inflammatory markers such as CRP and ESR are typically not sensitive enough in arthrofibrosis. An inflammatory cytokine panel blood test is useful for guiding treatment.


Test for Infection

Where inflammation is active needle aspiration of synovial fluid is necessary to conduct PCR testing for infection, with or without culture tests.

Joint pain, Arthritis and tendon problems. a man touching nee at pain point.jpg


At present, the most effective imaging methods for arthrofibrosis include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound and PET/CT.

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