BMJ Case Reports 2011; doi:10.1136/bcr.07.2011.4551
  • Reminder of important clinical lesson

Be aware of wood in the knee

  1. Anthony Addison2
  1. 1Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Ashford and St Peter’s NHS Foundation Trust, Surrey, UK
  2. 2Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Darent Valley Hospital, Kent, UK
  1. Correspondence to Ms Rachel Louise O’Connell, roconnell{at}


The authors report a case of a 7-year-old boy who sustained a penetrating injury of a splinter of wood to the knee. Arthroscopic examination, removal of visualised foreign material and washout did not alleviate the symptoms of pain and swelling in its entirety. Microbiology cultures also failed to determine the cause of the on-going symptoms. Five days later, the patient underwent a mini arthrotomy through a lateral incision, which demonstrated synovitis, and removal of the remaining embedded foreign body from the lateral condyle. Although the authors advocate arthroscopy as the surgeon’s first choice for removal of a foreign body from the knee, a mini-arthrotomy should also be considered to facilitate superior visualisation and easier instrumentation to remove embedded foreign bodies.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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