The acute effects of radiofrequency energy in articular cartilage: An in vitro study

Lee Kaplan, John W. Uribe, Harvey Sasken, Gregory Markarian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


The purpose of this investigation was to determine the acute effect of radiofrequency (RF) energy on articular cartilage. Six fresh human articular cartilage specimens were obtained from patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty for unicompartmental osteoarthritis. A jig was used as the RF- energy was delivered to 2 designated treatment areas. These areas included a normal and a diseased area of articular cartilage tested at 3 voltage settings (kilohertz per voltage root mean square), 133 to 147 (setting 2), 161 to 179 (setting 4), and 190 to 210 (setting 6) for 3 seconds. The designated testing areas were marked with tissue dye and processed using standard histological techniques. A scalloped concave excavation with a smooth surface remains at each treatment site. The chondrocytes are viable at the RF-treated sites without alterations in nuclear cytoplasmic nor lacunae structure when compared with collateral untreated areas. In conclusion, chondrocytes remain viable, no collagen abnormalities are detected, and diseased areas are smoothed without further evidence of fibrillation. RF- energy appears to be safe for use on articular cartilage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-5
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Articular cartilage
  • Cartilage repair
  • Radiofrequency energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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