Long-Term Outcome After Arthroscopic Meniscal Repair Versus Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy for Traumatic Meniscal Tear
This study was conducted to learn whether patients with traumatic meniscal tears have better long-term outcomes if their meniscus is repaired versus partially removed.
This study involved 81 patients with meniscal tears. Prior to their injuries, some participated in recreational sports 5 or more times a week (“athletes”), while others were less active.
Patients in the two groups (meniscus repair and partial meniscus removal) were compared based on three outcomes: osteoarthritis progression, ability to play sports at a pre-injury level, and knee function.
Outcomes were compared between the two groups at two different points following their surgeries: after 2 to 5 years (“mid-term”), and again after 5 to 8 years (“long-term”).
- Success rate after meniscal repair was 86% vs. 90% for partial meniscus removal
- Mid-term outcomes for all patients: Both the meniscus repair and removal groups showed similar results in osteoarthritis progression, return to pre-injury sports activity level, and knee function.
- Long-term outcomes for all patients:
- A higher percentage of patients in the repair group (81%) had no progression in osteoarthritis than those in the removal group (40%)
- Nearly all patients in the repair group (96%) regained their pre-injury sports activity level vs. half of the patients in the removal group
- No significant difference between the repair and removal groups in knee function
- Outcomes for athletes: At both mid-term and long-term time-points, more patients in the repair group (over 94%) regained their pre-injury sports activity level compared to the removal group (around 50%). For patients 30 years and younger, meniscus repair also slowed osteoarthritis progression compared to partial removal.
This study shows that arthroscopic meniscal repair offers better long-term results in terms of preventing osteoarthritic progression and regaining sports activity than partial meniscus removal.
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