Joint lavage (washing) enables ridding the painful joint of the enzymes that are responsible for damage to the cartilage but also micro-crystals or cartilage debris which, imprisoned in the joint, maintains the irritation. It is currently used on the knee joint.
Joint lavage involves injecting a large dose of physiological saline solution into the joint and then draining it out full of impurities.
This technique is carried out in a hospital or clinic, either in an operating theatre or biopsy room with either no hospitalisation or with a short stay in hospital. It is performed under local (or locoregional) anaesthetic within strict sanitisation conditions so as to guarantee sterility.
It can sometimes be combined with a corticosteroid injection which gives fast results (thanks to the corticosteroid injection) and long-lasting results (thanks to the joint lavage). Your doctor may prescribe it for you during a flare-up of knee osteoarthritis and when the knee remains swollen in spite of the treatment undertaken.
This procedure is generally well-tolerated and its effectiveness can last from 6 months to one year. You should tell your doctor if you have heart problems and/or any allergies as you may be intolerant to the local anaesthetics used.