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Arthroscopic Surgery No Better Than Sham Surgery for Degenerative Meniscal Tears — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
January 2, 2014

Arthroscopic Surgery No Better Than Sham Surgery for Degenerative Meniscal Tears

By Amy Orciari Herman

Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy is no better than sham surgery for reducing knee symptoms in patients with degenerative meniscal tears, a New England Journal of Medicine study finds.

Some 150 adults in Finland with nontraumatic medial meniscal tears and no osteoarthritis were randomized to undergo partial meniscectomy or sham surgery during diagnostic arthroscopy. At 12 months, both groups showed improvements in knee symptoms, pain, and quality-of-life, but there were no significant differences between the groups. In addition, the groups did not differ in the number of patients who required subsequent knee surgery.

The authors conclude: "These results argue against the current practice of performing arthroscopic partial meniscectomy in patients with a degenerative meniscal tear."

Reader Comments (4)

CLAUDE BLONDIN Physician, Rheumatology, retired

very good references

Harminder Longia Physician, Internal Medicine

I had access to only the abstract but I could not get a clear picture - "degenerative" meniscal tear and "no" osteoarthritis. These seem to be conflicting terms. In my practice I have so many patients complaining of knee pain and their symptoms persist even after arthroscopic procedures.

Frederick E Brenner MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Dow Chemical Physician Retired

Arthroscopy and menisecectomy was performed one year before I had a total knee. The Arthroscopy surgery made the knee much worse almost immediately. I was happy to have the total knee surgery.

Pifer, Ralph G. B.A.,M.A.,MALS-GENERAL & CLINICAL PSYCH Other, Other, Retired Professor of Psychology an Social Science

Thank you for this informative article. My orthopedist has mentioned the possibility of wanting to do this surgery on a knee. I shall have second thoughts--and refer him to this research

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