Ferrography is a technique for analysing wear by means of the magnetic separation of wear particles. To evaluate its application in human joints, the results of the ferrographic analysis of saline washings of symptomatic human knees were compared with the results of the arthroscopic examination of the same knees. Ferrography was found to be an extremely sensitive monitor of articular erosion, with a resolution far greater than that of arthroscopy. This was particularly apparent with knees suffering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament: arthroscopy detected no damage to the cartilaginous surfaces whereas ferrography detected a substantial level of 'microdamage'. The spectrum of wear particles showed qualitative and quantitative alterations depending upon the condition of the knee. Ferrography thus holds much promise as a potential differential diagnostic technique of great sensitivity, with particular relevance to the very early changes which precede clinical symptoms. Study of wear particles is also justified by evidence indicating an active role in the pathophysiological progression of arthritis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine