Shape of the Particles Found in Human Knee Joints and Their Relationship to Osteoarthritis

M. Kuster, Pawel Podsiadlo, Gwidon Stachowiak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To analyse and compare the shape of wear particles found-in healthy-and osteoarthritic human knee joints for monitoring the progress of osteoarthritis, the long-term prognosis and to evaluate therapeutic regimens.Method. Joint particles from seven patients with normal cartilage in all compartments of the knee joint, 12 patients with fibrillation of less than half the cartilage thickness (grade 1), Seven patients with fibrillation of more than half the cartilage thickness (grade 2) and four patients with erosions down to bone (grade 3) were analysed. A total of 565 particles were extracted from synovial fluid samples by ferrography and analysed in a scanning electron microscope. A number of numerical descriptors, i.e. boundary fractal dimension, shape factor, convexity and elongation, were calculated for each particle image and correlated to the degree of osteoarthritis using non-parametric tests.Results. Experiments demonstrated that there were significant differences between the numerical descriptors calculated for wear particles from healthy and osteoarthritic knee joints (P <0.01), suggesting that the particle shape can be used as an indicator of the joint condition. In particular, the-fractal dimension of the particle boundary was shown to correlate directly with the degree of osteoarthritis.Conclusion. Numerical analysis of the shape of wear particles found in human knee-joints may provide a reliable means for the assessment of cartilage repair after surgical or conservative treatment of osteoarthritis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)978-984
JournalBritish Journal of Rheumatology
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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