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Arthroscopic Surgery for Meniscal Tears Without Arthritis? Meta-Analysis Suggests No Benefit — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
August 26, 2014

Arthroscopic Surgery for Meniscal Tears Without Arthritis? Meta-Analysis Suggests No Benefit

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH

Arthroscopic surgery appears no better than nonoperative treatments in patients with degenerative meniscal tears without osteoarthritis, according to a meta-analysis in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The analysis included seven randomized trials in which some 800 patients with degenerative meniscal tears and mild or no osteoarthritis were assigned to undergo either arthroscopic meniscal debridement or nonoperative treatment (for example, exercise programs, steroid injections, or sham surgery). Arthroscopic surgery appeared to offer no meaningful benefit over the other treatments in terms of pain or function within 6 months or 2 years.

The authors conclude that "a trial of nonoperative management should be the first-line treatment" in this patient population.

Reader Comments (3)

DONALD HISLOP Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, home office

I am concerned about the OE following meniscus surgery .

MAI-LAN ROGOFF Physician, Massachusetts

While I respect evidence-based medicine, as my daddy used to say "statistics aren't personal." Having had now two operative repairs (one on each knee, each of them for a traumatic injury) after a year of non-operative management each time, I can say that in each case the operative repair changed my life for the better. I worry that in our rush to intervene less, studies such as this one will deny people useful interventions.

John Fiorito Pharm.D., R.Ph. Other Healthcare Professional, Genetics

Difficult to comment on just an abstract. The devil is in the detail

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