Soft Tissue Complications

Ecchymosis, Hemarthrosis, Chronic Effusion, and Wound Dehiscence
  • Wayne B. Leadbetter


No matter how well conceived, knee surgery is a deliberate controlled wounding of highly vascularized living tissues. The benefits of any proposed surgical procedure must be constantly weighed against the induced costs of functional recovery from creating an acute injury, namely, hemorrhage, inflammation, pain, muscle inhibition, and possible arthrofibrosis. While the advent of arthroscopic techniques has reduced obvious cutaneous and myotendinous trauma, intraarticular hemorrhage from such procedures as synovectomy, ligament tunneling, burring, retinacular release, or various chondral restoration procedures can lead to significant postoperative disability. Given these circumstances, it is not surprising that most reviews have shown hemarthrosis to be the most frequent complication of knee arthroscopy and, by experience, of knee surgery in general.’ Postoperative hemarthrosis of the knee along with prominent cutaneous ecchymosis, recurrent effusions, and potential wound dehiscence with synovial fistula pose clinical problems ranging from patient apprehension due to tenderness at wound sites to serious delays in the recovery of joint motion or limb strength.


Anterior Cruciate Ligament Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Knee Surgery Lateral Retinacular Release Soft Tissue Complication 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

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  • Wayne B. Leadbetter

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