Objective—To compare effects of synovectomy performed
by use of monopolar radiofrequency energy
(MRFE) versus mechanical debridement in rabbits
with induced inflammatory arthritis.
Animals—25 mature female New Zealand White rabbits.
Procedure—Inflammatory arthritis was induced in
both femoropatellar joints of each rabbit. Joints then
were treated by mechanical debridement or MRFE
treatment or served as sham-operated controls.
Rabbits were euthanatized 2 weeks or 3 months after
surgery. Biopsy specimens of synovium were analyzed
by use of light microscopy.
Results—At 2 weeks after surgery, samples from
MRFE-treated joints had fewer plasma cells and more
heterophils than the other 2 groups and more lymphocytes
than sham-operated controls, whereas
samples from mechanically debrided joints had
greater numbers of lymphocytes and heterophils than
sham-operated controls. At 3 months after surgery,
samples from MRFE-treated joints had fewer plasma
cells than sham-operated controls, more heterophils
than mechanically debrided and sham-operated controls,
and more macrophages than mechanically
debrided joints. There was no difference in synovial
ablation, synovial proliferation, or fibrosis among the 3
groups at 2 weeks or 3 months after surgery.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Analysis of
results of this study documented a similar degree of
synovial ablation when comparing use of MRFE to
mechanical debridement. In rabbits with this method
of induced inflammatory arthritis, there were no
detectable benefits of MRFE or mechanical debridement
on the synovium, compared with results for
sham-operated control joints, at 2 weeks and 3
months after surgery for most of the synovial variables
evaluated. ( Am J Vet Res 2004;65:573–577)