Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy versus physical therapy for traumatic meniscal tears in a young study population: a randomised controlled trial

Review written by Dr Travis Pollen info

Key Points

  1. Arthroscopic partial meniscectomies are the most frequently performed orthopedic surgery in the world, despite little evidence that surgery is superior to non-operative treatment.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Arthroscopic partial meniscectomies are the most performed orthopedic surgery in the world, despite little evidence that surgery is superior to non-operative treatment (1). In fact, previous studies have shown surgery is no better than non-operative treatment for middle-aged and older adults with degenerative meniscal tears (2). However, no randomized controlled trial (RCT) had been conducted on younger patients with traumatic injuries.

The purpose of this RCT was to determine whether arthroscopic partial meniscectomy was superior to physical therapy in young patients (aged 18-45) with traumatic meniscal tears.

Surgery is no better than non-operative treatment for middle-aged and older adults with degenerative meniscal tears.
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In the absence of a strong patient preference for surgery, the results from this study support conservative management as the first line of treatment.

METHODS

100 patients (35 ± 8 years old, 76% male, 34% competitive or elite athletes) with traumatic grade 3 meniscal tears in the last 6 months were randomized to either arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (n = 49) or physical therapy with the

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