American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

View all recommendations from this society

Released September 11, 2013

Don’t use needle lavage to treat patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee for long-term relief.

The use of needle lavage in patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee does not lead to measurable improvements in pain, function, 50-foot walking time, stiffness, tenderness or swelling.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) routinely develops evidence-based clinical practice guidelines as valuable tools to advance the physician-patient communications process and enhance the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. AAOS physician volunteer work groups develop evidence-based clinical practice guidelines to serve as an educational tool based on an assessment of the current scientific and clinical information and accepted approaches to treatment. The most recent approved clinical practice guidelines have been published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. AAOS staff, led by the medical director, conducted a review of the approved clinical practice guidelines previously developed by the work groups and selected a variety of topics frequently used in orthopaedic surgical practice. After input from the orthopaedic specialty society leaders and approval from the AAOS Presidential Leadership and Board of Directors, the final five topics were selected for this campaign. The AAOS disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Clinical Practice Guideline on the Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee (Non-Arthroplasty). Rosemont (IL): American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 2008 Dec. Available from:

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Vad VB, Bhat AL, Sculco TP, Wickiewicz TL. Management of knee osteoarthritis: knee lavage combined with hylan versus hylan alone. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003;84(5):634-7.