Loose bodies often formed inside joints after injury or arthritic disease. They often made of bone and cartilage. Loose bodies can be harmless without causing any symptoms. However in the knee joint, a floating loose body can get stuck in the joint of a person. It causes a feeling of locking of the joint. The patient often appreciates a feeling of something getting stuck inside the joint. While walking or getting off from a chair.
Most symptomatic loose bodies need removal of the body. Essentially there has not been any role of medication in them except for pain management. The open procedure to remove the loose body involves longer incisions. More morbidity, and more damage to the joint. This results in stiffness and loss of function.
Recently orthopedic surgeons are arm with key hole instruments and cameras aka arthroscopy. Almost similar to laparoscopes used for gallbladder surgery. The fine nature of instruments and magnification if the camera allows the surgeon. To peep inside the joint through keyholes. They perform various procedures including loose body removal. The damage caused to the joint is negligible and return to function is immediate. There is no need for a long course of painkillers or antibiotics, nor is need for major dressings.
Loose Body Removal Case
Presented here is a case of a teenage boy with trauma to the knee joint while playing in school. After the initial acute phase, the swelling and pain subsided remarkably. However even 2 yrs after the injury, the child was not confident while walking. He had complaints of something getting stuck inside the knee. After MRI, the child is take for arthroscopy via 2 small incisions. A loose body measuring 2cm dia is remove from his knee. In older days, this would have required a 10 cm incision and long hospital stay. This child is discharge walking the next day of surgery.