We used a saline load test in 50 consecutive patients with periarticular lacerations suggestive of joint penetration. The surgeon had predicted on clinical grounds whether or not the laceration penetrated the joint. Joint penetration was demonstrated in 14 and was absent in 36. A comparison of the prediction and the test results showed that there were false-positive clinical results in 39% and false-negative in 43%. There were no complications from the use of the test. Our findings support the use of a saline load test in evaluating periarticular lacerations.





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