An in vivo study of the effect of excimer laser irradiation on degenerate rabbit articular cartilage

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      Eighteen adult rabbits with mechanically induced degenerative arthritis of one knee were divided into two groups. The first group underwent arthrotomy and lavage of the arthritic joint. The second group underwent arthrotomy and irradiation of the degenerate articular surface with the Excimer (xenon chloride ultraviolet, 308-nm) laser (Arthrex Arthrolase MAX-10, Germany) in a saline environment. Rabbits from each group were killed at intervals up to 12 weeks for histological and metabolic studies of their articular cartilage. In the control group there was no improvement in the macroscopic or microscopic appearance of the articular surface. In the laser-irradiated group initially there was macroscopic and microscopic smoothing of the fibrillated surface. By 6 weeks the surface had begun to show the reappearance of fibrillation. There was no evidence that there was any increase or decrease in mitotic or metabolic activity in the laser-irradiated group as compared with the controls.

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