Yes, especially in a country like India. Although Tuberculosis is a disease of the Lungs, it can affect anywhere in the body from head to toe. The knee is the third most common skeletal region after the spine and the hip joint.
ATT (Anti Tuberculosis Therapy) are a group of drugs for treating Tuberculosis anywhere in the body. These drugs have good anti-inflammatory action and controls the disease process. However, the drug combination needs monitoring and dose-adjustment on a regular basis by an Orthopaedician/physician to ensure that the disease stays well under control.
In acute active state of inflammation, the knee joint is very painful and does not respond to high doses of ATT also. In such cases, the inflamed synovial tissue of the knee is debrided, shaved off and arthroscopic lavage also washes away the inflammatory mediators and gives good pain relief.
There are also some situations where the diagnosis cannot be confirmed even after an MRI scan and arthroscopy aids in diagnosis by performing synovial biopsy. In this procedure, the joint is completely visualised and suitable samples of tissue are taken for microscopic examination.
The proliferative inflamed synovium tends to eat off the cartilage (smooth layer lining the knee joint on either sides) and leads to early onset of secondary Osteoarthritis. Hence it needs to be removed when medical management does not seem to control the disease.