Fixed-flexion view X-ray of the knee superior in detection and follow-up of knee osteoarthritis

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A fixed flexion view (FFV) is useful for evaluating joint space when assessing the severity of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. We analyzed changes in joint space revealed by standing extended view (SEV) and FFV over a mean 4 years, to compare both views on their capacity to measure joint space width accurately at particular time points during follow-up.SEV and FFV images were acquired in patients with knee OA. The 81 patients (157 knees) followed up for ≥24 months were selected as study subjects. Medial joint space widths (MJSW), Kellgren–Lawrence (KL) grades, and reductions in MJSW on SEV (ΔSEV) and FFV (ΔFFV) were compared in knees evaluated by SEV and FFV.At both time-points, mean MJSW was significantly lower by FFV than by SEV. Mean MJSW was significantly lower at follow-up than at first examination by both SEV and FFV. At both time-points, the KL grade was higher by FFV than by SEV group. The ΔFFV was significantly greater than the ΔSEV. ΔSEV did not differ significantly among KL grades, but ΔFFV was significantly greater in patients with KL grade II than in patients with other KL grades.FFV is not only useful for evaluating joint space in knees with OA, but also for accurately evaluating the progression of OA. The risk of rapid progression of knee OA may be higher in patients with KL grade II, as determined by FFV. FFV may be superior to SEV in determining appropriate treatment strategies for knee OA.

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