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Needle Lavage


Updated November 13, 2009

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: Needle lavage is a treatment for knee arthritis. Because needle lavage has been found to be an ineffective treatment for knee arthritis, it is not recommended for standard treatment of knee arthritis.

Needle lavage is a procedure performed in your doctor's office. Using a large needle placed into the knee joint, your doctor injects sterile saline and then withdraws the fluid through either the same or a separate needle. The aim is to "wash" the joint of fluid, debris, and inflammatory cells often found in patients with knee arthritis.

Needle lavage has been repeatedly shown to be ineffective at providing significant relief for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee joint.

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