Whether in civil or military practice, it is generally conceded that septic infection of the knee joint is one of the most serious conditions that the surgeon can be called on to treat, endangering, as it does, both the future usefulness of the joint, and at times, the very life of the individual.
In civil experience we have formerly been led to a profound distrust of the ability of this particular articulation to deal with infective processes. In septic arthritis, an arthrotomy was usually advised and drainage tubes or wicks were inserted into the joint cavity, or through and through drainage was established and the tubes allowed to remain for at least a number of days. Besides producing an evil mechanical effect on the synovia and cartilages, the drainage material provided an ideal reservoir for the pabulum in which the organisms could multiply and travel from within outward, spreading infection
COFIELD RB. DISINFECTION OF THE KNEE JOINT. JAMA. 1918;71(16):1286–1288. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.1918.02600420028008
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