Information for the public

Benefits and risks

Benefits and risks

When NICE looked at the evidence, it decided that there is not enough evidence to be sure about how well this procedure works or how safe it is. The 3 studies that NICE looked at involved a total of 87 patients.

Generally, they showed the following benefits:

  • pain and stiffness in the joint improved, several months or years after the procedure was done

  • new cartilage formed in the joint, by 2 years after the procedure was done

  • most people were able to walk for longer and had less difficulty climbing stairs, a few years after they had the procedure.

The studies showed that the risks of joint distraction included:

  • infections where the pins went into the leg, which were treated by antibiotics

  • not being able to bend the knee normally after the procedure. This got better by 1 year after the procedure

  • a few patients had a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in a vein) or a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs) after the procedure, that needed further treatment.

If you want to know more about the studies, see the guidance. Ask your health professional to explain anything you don't understand.

  • Information Standard