Although diagnostic criteria for chondromalacia patellae exist, the disease is often accompanied by physical signs which are limited or non-diagnostic. Thermographic examination was performed in 157 patients with clinical diagnosis of chondromalacia patellae in 86 patients after surgical treatment for chondromalacia, and in 308 controls. Thermography can help the clinicians in establishing the diagnosis of chondromalacia patellae, but by itself is not sufficiently specific. The specificity of thermography was dependent on age, ranging from 90% for the 15-24 year age group to 65% for the 45-54 year age group. Sensitivity of the method was 68%. Thermography can disclose other knee disorders which imitate chondromalacia patellae.
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