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Arthrofibrosis

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Updated February 07, 2004

Definition: Arthrofibrosis is a condition that follows knee trauma or surgery. Often seen after procedures such as ACL reconstruction surgery, arthrofibrosis is due to inflammation and proliferation of scar tissue.

When arthrofibrosis occurs, a dense fibrous tissue forms in abundance. This can bind down the knee joint, and prevent normal motion.

Prevention of arthrofibrosis is best accomplished with early motion following surgery. Arthrofibrosis used to be much more common when patients were casted following ACL reconstruction surgery. Now patients are instructed to move the joint within hours of surgery, and arthrofibrosis is much less common.

If the problem of arthrofibrosis cannot be solved with aggressive therapy, then surgery may be necessary to remove the fibrous tissue. This is followed with aggressive physical therapy to regain motion.

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