Clinical Outcome of Arthroscopic Internal Drainage of Popliteal Cysts With or Without Cyst Wall Resection

Background: This study aimed to compare the arthroscopic internal drainage of popliteal cysts alone or in combination with cyst wall resection in terms of clinical outcomes.

Methods: Forty-two consecutive patients with symptomatic popliteal cysts received arthroscopic treatment. Specifically, 20 of them received arthroscopic internal drainage (AI group) alone and 22 received arthroscopic internal drainage combined with cyst wall resection (AICR group) through double posteromedial portals. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed to identify recurrence of popliteal cysts. The Lysholm score and Rauschning-Lindgren grade were used to assess the clinical outcomes. The median of the follow-up period was 24 months (12-48 months).

Results: The two groups (AI group and AICR group) were similar in age, gender, cyst diameter, associated joint disorder, preoperative Lysholm score, preoperative Rauschning-Lindgren grade and follow-up period (P > 0.05). Relative to the AI group, the AICR group had a significantly prolonged operation time (P < 0.05) and a higher incidence of complications (P < 0.05). In both groups, the Rauschning-Lindgren grade at the last follow-up significantly differed from the preoperative grade (P < 0.05) and the Lysholm knee score remarkably increased compared to the preoperative score (P < 0.05); however, there were no differences between the two groups at the last follow-up (P > 0.05). According to the MRI results, the cyst disappeared in 11 (55%), shrank in size in 6 (30%) and existed in 3 (15%) patients in the AI group, and was absent in 18 (81.8%) and shrank in size in 4 (18.2%) patients in the AICR group, suggesting a significant difference between the two (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Additional resection of cyst wall can result in a lower recurrence rate of cysts but extend the operation time and increase the incidence of perioperative complications compared with arthroscopic internal drainage of popliteal cysts alone.

Keywords: Arthroscopy; Cyst wall; Cystectomy; Knee; Popliteal cyst.