A review of current concepts in radiofrequency chondroplasty

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Radiofrequency (RF) chondroplasty is a promising treatment of chondral defects. The purpose of this study is to summarize current literature reporting the use of radiofrequency energy as an alternative treatment to mechanical shaving in chondroplasty. This review depicts the basic understanding of RF energy in ablating cartilage while exploring the basic science, laboratory evidence and clinical effectiveness of this form of chondroplasty. Laboratory studies have indicated that RF energy decreases inflammatory markers in the cartilage as well as providing optimal results with smoothing of chondral clefts. There have been concerns of chondrolysis due to heat damage of chondrocytes; however, this is unsubstantiated in clinical studies. These clinical trials have highlighted that RF energy is a safe and efficacious method of chondroplasty when compared to the mechanical shaving technique.

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