Lysis of adhesions is the surgical procedure of breaking down the strands of material which can form inside the joint if the knee is inflamed; these strands are called 'adhesions'.

Page updated November 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

common sites for adhesions in the knee
When adhesions form, they tie down certain common areas - the suprapatellar pouch above the kneecap, the anterior interval below the fat pad in the region of the patellar tendon, and the capsular folds at the back of the knee.


Natural history of adhesions

Adhesions are initially just sticky strands, and can fairly easily be broken with stretches and mobilisation massages around the patella. If they become more intractable, it may be possible to break them with a manipulation under anaesthesia (MUA). If the knee continues to be inflamed and the adhesions are not broken, they may become more fibrous and turn into scar tissue that can contract and pull the soft tissue areas together too firmly to be broken with manipulations. At this stage they might yet be amenable to 'lysis of adhesions', where surgical methods are employed to break down the scar tissue.

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Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...

Relevant material -

Dr Frank R Noyes2008 - Arthrofibrosis - by Dr Frank R Noyes (Knee Surgeon)




Journal interpretations -


eBook on patella baja or infera

eBook - Arthrofibrosis and patella baja

Easy-to-read eBook explaining how the scarring of arthrofibrosis results in the patella being pulling into a lower painful position. Written by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor).