-- Question: What is debridement or lavage (via arthroscopic surgery) and when is it best used to treat pain resulting from rheumatoid arthritis?
Answer: Arthroscopic surgery is a means by which one can irrigate a joint which is called debridement or arthroscopic lavage.
Arthroscopic debridement of a knee, which is the most common joint in which arthroscopy is used, is used in patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In my opinion, for rheumatoid arthritis, arthroscopic debridement of the knee joint is not a procedure that should be commonly utilized.
Instead, one should have optable medical management by a rheumatologist or a primary care physician of the rheumatoid symptoms via non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, COX-2 inhibitors, or other anti-rheumatic medications such as immunomodulators.
If these fail, in a rare circumstance, arthroscopic debridement of the joint may be indicated. This may be more applicable to either the wrist, shoulder or elbow. However, it is rarely applicable to the knee joint itself.