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Chondrolysis

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Updated July 26, 2010

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

Definition: Chondrolyisis is a condition that occurs when the normal cartilage cells of a joint undergo a rapid and sudden demise. The normal layer of cartilage of the joint is quickly destroyed. Inevitably, a rapid progression to severe arthritis develops. Treatment of chondrolysis depends on the cause of the cartilage destruction as well as the joint involved. In general, there is no way to reverse the damage done by chondrolysis.

Chondrolysis has been seen in some individuals who had pumps to infuse local anesthetics following surgical procedures; there is concern that these local anesthetics could be a cause of chondrolysis. Local anesthetics in high doses may have toxic effects on cartilage cells, and may contribute to rare cases of chondrolysis.

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