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International consensus on the definition and classification of fibrosis of the knee joint

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The aim of this consensus was to develop a definition of post-operative fibrosis of the knee.

Patients and Methods

An international panel of experts took part in a formal consensus process composed of a discussion phase and three Delphi rounds.


Post-operative fibrosis of the knee was defined as a limited range of movement (ROM) in flexion and/or extension, that is not attributable to an osseous or prosthetic block to movement from malaligned, malpositioned or incorrectly sized components, metal hardware, ligament reconstruction, infection (septic arthritis), pain, chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or other specific causes, but due to soft-tissue fibrosis that was not present pre-operatively. Limitation of movement was graded as mild, moderate or severe according to the range of flexion (90° to 100°, 70° to 89°, < 70°) or extension deficit (5° to 10°, 11° to 20°, > 20°). Recommended investigations to support the diagnosis and a strategy for its management were also agreed.


The development of standardised, accepted criteria for the diagnosis, classification and grading of the severity of post-operative fibrosis of the knee will facilitate the identification of patients for inclusion in clinical trials, the development of clinical guidelines, and eventually help to inform the management of this difficult condition.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2016;98-B:1479–88.

Correspondence should be sent to N. S. Kalson; e-mail:

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